Impoverished, storm tossed, and uncomforted:
I will lay red garnets as your building stones,
Make your foundations of sapphire.

I will make your walls rubies,
Your gates will be of precious stones.
Your boundaries will be of precious gems.

All of you children will be students of God;
Your children will have great peace.


No weapon formed against you will succeed,
Every tongue that rises against you in judgement,
You will defeat.
This is the inheritance of God;
Their vindication is from Me,
Declares the Lord.

Isaiah 54:11-13; 17


6 August in History

In 1926, Harry Houdini performs his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.

7 August in History

In 1933, the Nazis murdered Felix Fechnebach, a Jewish Editor in Dachau.

26 Av in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Meir Ashkenazi, Rav of Shanghai (1891-1954). Born in Tcherikov, in Russia’s Pale of Settlement., to Lubavitcher Chassidim. At the outbreak of the First World War, his family — together with many others — fled Russia to Manchuria. It was there, in the city of Harbin, that Rav Meir and Toiba Liba were married. Rav Ashkenazi and his family moved to the port-city of Vladivostok on the eastern coast of Russia.

Not long afterwards, in 1918, the community there appointed Rav Ashkenazi as their rabbi. After seven years, he moved to assist the small Jewish community in Shanghai, China. Deteriorating conditions in Europe in the 1930’s led to a slow stream of German, Austrian, and Russian Jews into the Far East, which increased considerably at the outbreak of the Second World War. By the end of 1941, there were 18,000 Jewish refugees in Shanghai, ten times the number of Jews in Shanghai just ten years earlier.

27 Av in History

Today is the third of the the seven weeks of consolation that bridge the Shabbat after the Ninth of Av with the Shabbat preceding Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. A passage of consolation from the book of Isaiah is read as the Haftara.

Today is the yahrzeit of Rav Yehoshua Charif of Cracow (1648), author of Maginei Shlomo, an attempt to resolve the questions of the Baalei Tosefos against Rashi. He was the great-grandfather of the Pnei Yehoshua.

Born in Vilna at end of 16th century, he arrived in Cracow in 1640 as Rosh Yeshiva, replacing Rav Yoel Sirkis (the Bach) as Rav a few months later. He held the position until Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller (Tosefos Yom Tov) became Rav in 1643. Among his talmidim was Rav Shabsai Cohen (the Shach).