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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

After the postilion (coach driver) of the governor killed the four-year-old son of a councilor, charges were lodged against a Jew named Michael Vinelmann, a former resident of Basel, alleging that he had promised the murderer three gulden for the blood of the child. The murderer was broken on the wheel, and the Jew burned alive without trial.

Shortly before, a similar accusation had been brought against the Jews of Schaffhausen and been successfully refuted. When news of Michael Vinelmann's fate was brought to Schaffhausen, several of the Jews of the city fled and were soon captured. They were taken back to Schaffhausen, where they were thrown into a dungeon and terribly tortured. Unable to endure the pain, they "confessed" to the crime of which they had been accused, whereupon all the Jews living in Schaffhausen were condemned to death. Thirty Jews were burned alive. Four weeks later, eighteen men and women died at the stake in Winterthur in a similar context.

Rabbi Yosef Trani, known as the Maharit (1568-1639), was born in Safed and married a descendant of Rabbi Yosef Cairo. When a plague broke out in Safed, he abandoned the city, but returned in 1594 to head a yeshivah. In 1604, he was appointed rabbi of Constantinople and, a few years later, leader of Turkish Jewry. He is renowned for his responsa published under the title Teshuvot Maharit.

Daily Thought

More than 1,700 years in advance, the author of the Zohar predicted a revolution of science and technology around the year 1840. There he describes the fountains of wisdom bursting forth from the ground and flooding the earth—all in preparation for an era when the world shall be filled with wisdom and knowledge of the Oneness of its Creator.

From this we know that the true purpose of all technology and modern science is neither convenience nor power, but a means to discover G‑dliness within the physical world.

Likutei Sichot, vol. 15, Noach 2.