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Friday, March 10, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In the year 91 BCE, Alexander Yannai of the Hasmonean family succeeded his brother Yehuda Aristoblus to the throne of Judea. Alexander Yannai was a Sadducee who virulently persecuted the Pharisees. At one point during his bloody reign, following a victory he scored on a battlefield, he invited all the Torah scholars for a celebratory feast. During this feast he was slighted by one of the guests, which led him to execute all the Torah scholars in attendance.

A few of the sages managed to escape to the town of Sulukus in Syria. There, too, they encountered anti-Semitic enemies who murdered many of the exiled sages. The handful of surviving Torah scholars went in to hiding, finding refuge in the home of an individual named Zevadai. On the night of the 17th of Adar they escaped the hostile city of Sulukus.

Eventually these surviving scholars revived Torah Judaism. The date they escaped the clutches of death was established as a day of celebration.

Daily Thought

How long will you people keep walking on two sides of the fence? If G‑d is G‑d, follow Him. And if the Baal is G‑d, follow him! (Elijah in Kings I 18:21)

This is shocking. How could Elijah even suggest to the people such an option, that people should abandon the true G‑d altogether and worship exclusively the false god?

Isn’t it better they should have even some truth in their lives, even if the rest is a lie?

But no. It may be a worse sin to commit entirely to a false god, but there is far more hope for such a person than for one who tries to walk on both sides of the fence.

Someone walking both sides of the fence shows that he’s not interested in the truth. If truth doesn’t matter, what will it help to show him truth?

Not so someone who is committed entirely to what he believes to be true. Once shown his error, he might now turn his life around and be yet more committed to the one true G‑d.

Likutei Sichot vol 1, pg 183.