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If one wishes to defile himself (to sin) the door is opened to him; but he who comes to purify himself, he is assisted. The disciples of R. Ishmael have told a parable to explain this, “When one sells both pitch (which has a bitter smell) and perfumes, when one arrives to buy pitch, the store owner says to him, ‘Measure the quantity you need’; but if one arrives to buy perfumes, he says, ‘Wait, we will both measure it, and (I will be able to enjoy) the pleasing smell.'”

Yoma Chapter 3


14 June in History

In 1656, directors of the Dutch West India Company sent a strong letter to Peter Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam ordering him to give “more respect” to the “Jews or Portuguese people” in his city. A principle shareholder in the company, a Jew named Joseph d’Acosta had assisted in obtaining this statement.

2 Tammuz in History

Today is the Yahrziet of Rav Shmuel ben Yechiel of Cologne, who was killed by Crusaders. He was one of the Baale Tosafot, who were a group of scholars that co-authored one of the most insightful, analytic, and authoritative commentaries on the Talmud.

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June 2010