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R. Hanina b. Dosa happened to be on the road. It began to rain. He said, “Master of the Universe, the whole world enjoys, but Hanina is afflicted.” The rain ceased.

When he reached home, he said, “The whole world is in anxiety because no rain comes, only Hanina is contented” (since he did not have fields).

Rain began to come again.

Yoma Chapter 5


22 June in History

It was on this day in 1908 that President Grover Cleveland died of heart failure. In 1897 Cleveland vetoed an immigration bill that included a literacy test. The literacy test was a thinly veiled attempt to close the doors to immigrants including the wave of Jews coming from Eastern Europe.

12 Tammuz in History

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Asher, the Baal Haturim (1268-1340), son of the Rosh. When his father fled Germany with his entire family to Spain in 1803, Rav Yaakov first lived with his brother Rav Yechiel, in Barcelona, then moved to Toledo, where his father was Rav. His younger brother, Rav Yehuda, who would marry Rav Yaakov’s daughter, succeeded the Rosh as Rav of Toledo, while Rav Yaakov himself preferred to take a position on the rabbinical court, Beit Din.

His monumental halchic work, the Arba’ah Turim included virtually all opinions available to Rav Yaakov, as well as a wealth of customs. The many commentators on the Tur include those of Rav Yosef Karo (the Beis Yosef), Rav Moshe Isserles (Darkei Moshe), Rav Yoel Sirkes (The Beis Chadash), Rav Yehoshua Falk (Derishah uPerishah), and Rav Yosef Escapa (the Rosh Yosef), who deals with only a part of the work.

Rav Chaim Yoesf David Azulai, Chida, (1724-1807) comments that without a proper study of the Tur and its commentaries, one cannot begin to determine halachah.

Rav Yaakov also authored Sefer HaRemazim (also known as Kitzur Piskei HaRosh), an abridged version of his father’s compendium of the Talmud, quoted in Sefer Mesharim. Rav Yaakov died in Toledo.

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June 2010