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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In the 2nd century before the common era, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks) who, with the collaboration of the Jewish Hellenists, introduced pagan idols into the Holy Temple and set about to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Mattityahu, the son of the High Priest Yochanan, was already an old man when he picked up a sword and raised the flag of revolt in the village of Modiin in the Judean hills. Many rallied under his cry, "Who that is for G-d, come with me!" and resisted and battled the Greeks from their mountain hideouts.

After heading the revolt for one year, Mattityahu died on the 15th of Cheshvan of the year 3622 from creation (139 BCE). His five sons -- the "Macabees" Judah, Yochanan, Shimon, Elazar and Yonatan -- carried on the battle to their eventual victory, celebrated each year since by Jews the world over with the festival of Chanukah.

Links: VirtualChanukah.com; a Chanukah anthology

On this night in 1938 and continuing into the next day -- November 9 on the secular calendar -- the Nazis coordinated vicious pogroms against the Jewish community of Germany. Encouraged by their leaders, rioters attacked and beat Jewish residents, burned and destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized 7,500 Jewish businesses, and ransacked countless Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes, while police and firefighters stood by. Ninety-one Jews were killed and 20,000 others were deported to concentration camps.

These pogroms, which collectively came to be known as Kristallnacht (“night of broken glass,” referring to the thousands of windows that were broken) were a turning point after which Nazi anti-Jewish policy intensified.

Daily Thought

When you approach any human wisdom, you must first understand and discern. You must say, “This makes sense to me; I will follow this. This is a teacher with a good reputation; I will consider her lessons. This doesn’t fit for me; I will put this aside for now.”

But learning Torah means more than learning wisdom. To learn Torah is to enter into union with the Giver of Torah. To make His thoughts your thoughts, His mind your mind. To achieve perfect oneness.

At Sinai, we understood this well. When Moses asked us if we were ready to accept the Torah, we answered, “We will do, and we will understand.”

First, we will do. Because we know Who was asking us. And we desired to connect with Him.

Then we will attempt, in whatever small way we can, to understand.

To bring His thoughts into our thoughts, His mind into our minds. To become one with Him.