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Friday, June 24, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Among the millions of Jews cruelly killed by the Romans were the "Ten Martyrs"--all great sages and leaders of Israel--memorialized in a special prayer recited on Yom Kippur. Three of them--Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha and Rabbi Chanina S'gan Hakohanim--were killed on Sivan 25.

Links:
The Ten Martyrs

Egyptian representatives appeared in the court of Alexander the Great, demanding that the Jews pay restitution for all the Egyptian gold and silver they took along with them during the Exodus. Geviha the son of Pesisa, a simple but wise Jew, requested the sages' permission to present a defense on behalf of the Jews.

Geviha asked the Egyptians for evidence that the Jews absconded with their wealth. "The crime is clearly recorded in your Torah," the Egyptians gleefully responded.

"In that case," Geviha said, "the Torah also says that 600,000 Jews were unjustly enslaved by the Egyptians for many, many years. So first let us calculate how much you owe us..."

The court granted the Egyptians three days in which to prepare a response. When they were unable to do so they fled on the following day and never returned.

In Talmudic times, the day when the Egyptian delegation fled was celebrated as a mini-holiday.

(According to some traditions, this event took place on Nissan 24.)

Links:
Alexander The Great
Jews Take Egyptian Wealth

Daily Thought

When G-d asked Abraham to take his son, his only son, the son he loves, Isaac, and raise him for an offering upon a mountain, G-d said, “please.”

He said, “Please stand for me in this test, so they will not say, ‘The other tests were of no substance.’”

The other tests included being thrown in a fiery furnace for not worshipping Nimrod.

Not complaining when he had to leave the land promised him so as not to starve.

Not flinching with fear when he ran to save his nephew from the powerful armies that had captured him.

Not wavering from his faith when he had been promised many children and not a single one had been born.

And all this would be unsubstantial if he would fail this one test?

Yes. Because all these tests only demonstrated that Abraham was a man with a cause.

It could have been that his stalwartness had less to do with G-d and truth than it had to do with his own self-identity and iron will to stick to his cause.

Until a challenge came that would not promote his cause, not affirm his identity, not contribute to his future, or any future. Something that could only burn down everything he had ever built. 

But it was truth.

When Abraham fulfilled that impossible act, G-d said, “Don’t do anything to the lad. Because now everyone will know that all you do is real.” 

Likutei Sichot vol. 20, pg. 73ff.