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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Hashmonean King Alexander-Yannai (Jannaeus), an avowed enemy of the Jewish sages, died on this date. So great was his cruelty and the ruthlessness with which he persecuted the Sages and those loyal to them (some 50,000 were killed in the years 82-76 BCE), that the day of his death was declared a holiday.

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King Yannai

On this day, Shevat 2 (January 14, 1793), a frenzied mob gathered around the Jewish ghetto of Rome with the intention of setting it on fire. Miraculously, heavy rains began to fall, and it became impossible for the bloodthirsty horde to carry out their plans, thus saving the homes and lives of the Jews from destruction. Every year, that day, also known as Moed di Piombo (“Holiday of Gray [Clouds]”), has been celebrated as a day of thanksgiving by the Jews of Rome.

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Other "Purims"

Shevat 2 is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of Chassidic Master Rabbi Meshulam Zusha of Anipoli (1718?-1800), a disciple of the 2nd leader of the Chassidic movement, Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch.

Despite Rabbi Zusha's erudition and great piety, he was distinguished by his self-effacement and simple ways. A characteristic saying of his goes: "If it were offered to me to exchange places with Abraham our Father, I would refuse. What would G-d gain from this? He'd still have one Zusha and one Abraham..." His colleagues said of him that he was literally incapable of seeing anything negative in a fellow Jew.

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More about Rabbi Zusha

Daily Thought

Due to the limitations of your reality, some of your best friends can enter only incognito.

In fact, the really big ones sometimes sneak in disguised as ugly monsters and vicious enemies. Otherwise, the guards at the gate would never permit them entry.

These are the events optimists call “blessings in disguise.”

Here’s how to fire the guards: Expand your mind, expand your world and sincerely rejoice in whatever G‑d sends you. Then the blessings will be free to enter in all their glory.