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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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

Pesach is translated as Passover, but really it means to leap, to skip, to bypass all conventions.

When G‑d struck the firstborn of Egypt, He skipped over the houses of the Israelites.

He also bypassed nature--all the channels of cause and effect by which He generally conducts His creation.

And the Israelites, as well, when they followed Moses out into the desert towards the promised land, it was with a great leap of faith.

This is the power you are given on Passover--or Leapover:

At other times of the year, you can’t get from one to a hundred without going through all 99 steps along the way. You need to learn something new each day, gradually acquire good habits and drop bad ones. To slowly open your eyes to a reality much bigger than yourself and hope to leave this world a little more refined than as you entered.

But now you are suddenly empowered to skip nature, bypass who you were a moment earlier, become a new person overnight, and take care of the details later.

Passover is the festival of the quantum leap.