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Friday, March 13, 2020

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

No one has ever seen a particle or a wave of gravity. Furthermore, the very notion of gravity is mystifying: masses light years apart with nothing between them, affecting each other’s movement!

Yet we all accept there must be a cause behind the phenomena we observe, so we call this elusive force “gravity.”

So too, there is a cause behind existence. That Cause may be yet more elusive, but the reality of its existence is at least as inescapable and empirically evident.

-from correspondence of the Rebbe to Zalman Shazar.