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If a building collapses, and it is doubtful whether anyone is buried beneath the ruins or not; if it is doubtful whether he be dead or alive, it is permitted to remove the ruins from above him on the Sabbath.

If he is found alive, the ruins are to be entirely removed. If he is dead, he is to be left there.

Yoma Chapter 8


19 August in History

In 1622, French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal passed away. Unlike some other French philosophers Pascal thought highly of the Jewish people as the following quote proves, “It is certain that in certain parts of the world we can see a peculiar people, separated from the other peoples of the world and this is called the Jewish people…. This people is not only of remarkable antiquity but has also lasted for a singularly long time… For where as the people of Greece and Italy, of Sparta, Athens and Rome and others who came so much later have perished so long ago, these still exist, despite the efforts of so many powerful kings who have tried a hundred times to wipe them out, as their historians testify, and as can easily be judged by the natural order of things over such a long spell of years. They have always been preserved, however, and their preservation was foretold… My encounter with this people amazes me….”

9 Elul in History

Nachmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, 1194-1270) arrived in Jerusalem, after being forced to flee his native Spain and renewed its Jewish community there in 1267. The synagogue he established is functional today, having been restored following the liberation of the Old City during the Six-Day War in 1967.

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August 2010