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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

On this day, King Hezekiah, the greatest of all the Judeaen kings, fell seriously ill, and was informed by the Prophet Isaiah that he would die, for G-d was displeased with the fact that Hezekiah had never married.

Hezekiah had refused to get married because he had prophetically foreseen that his children would lead the Jewish people to sin. He erred, for it is man's job to heed the commandment of procreating, and the rest is in the hands of G-d.

Hezekiah asked the prophet to pray on his behalf, but he refused, insisting that the Heavenly decree was final. The king asked the prophet to leave, saying that he had a tradition from his ancestors that one should never despair, even if a sharp sword is drawn across one's throat. The king prayed to G-d, and his prayer was accepted. G-d sent Isaiah to tell him that he would recover and that his life would be extended for fifteen years. Hezekiah recovered three days later, on the first day of Passover.

The King later married Prophet Isaiah's daughter.

Links:
Hezekiah's Last Years of Reign
The story in Kings II with commentary
More about King Hezekiah

A year following the building of the second Temple in Jerusalem (see Jewish History for the 3rd of Adar) Ezra gathered many of the Jews who had remained in Babylon and began a journey to the land of Israel. Though he certainly wanted to go earlier, his teacher, Baruch ben Neriah was too frail to travel, and Ezra refused to leave him until his passing.

Ezra was the head of the Sanhedrin, who all traveled together with him.

On the 12th of Nissan, Ezra departed from the river of Ahava, the beginning of the long journey to the land of Israel which would last for nearly five months (see Jewish history for the 1st of Av).

Links:
Account of event in Ezra
Ezra the Scribe

Laws and Customs

In today's "Nasi" reading (see "Nasi of the Day" in Nissan 1), we read of the gift bought by the nasi of the tribe of Naftali, Achira ben Enan, for the inauguration of the Mishkan.

Text of today's Nasi in Hebrew and English.

Daily Thought

Jethro was an explorer, a trekker through the stars that rule the darkness.

Jethro discovered the meaning of each deity of every pantheon of gods, the forces they controlled, the energies to be exploited by worshipping them, the place each held in the power struggle of nature and being.

Until he arrived at a place from which he could look back and say, “Their power is an illusion. They are nothing more than conduits, the agencies of a perfect, transcendent Oneness Who pervades the universe.”

Then He saw the miracles wrought for the Jewish people, wonders that engaged every force of nature in unison, that connected heaven and earth as one.

Jethro knew he had arrived at truth. With him, he brought the secret of every false power, the wisdom that emerges from darkness.

And now Torah could enter the world.

Darkness, he found, can teach us more about light than light could ever say.

Likutei Sichot vol. 11, Yitro 1. Ibid vol. 16.