ב"ה
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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

Pharaoh’s advisers tried hard to explain away all the plagues.

Even when the Red Sea split, allowed the Jews free passage, and drowned their enemies, there were those who ascribed the entire event to natural causes.

Such is human nature, to reflexively seek out a natural explanation for every event.

But a Jew, quite the opposite, ponders a natural occurrence and sees a miracle.

Because a Jew has an innate inner conviction that there is nothing else but G‑d. There is no nature—it is all by His hand.

Likutei Sichot vol. 1, p. 240, and on many other occasions.