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For a person who thinks, “I will sin and the Day of Atonement will atone for my sins,” the Day of Atonement does not atone.

Yoma Chapter 8

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30 August in History

In 1835, today marks the founding of Melbourne, Australia. The first synagogue opened in Melbourne in 1847. Melbourne provided the first native born Australian to serve as Governor-General – a lawyer named Isaac Isaacs. King George V was reportedly reluctant to appoint Isaacs to the post because he was Jewish. Prime Minister James Scullin assured the reluctant monarch that Australians took a more liberal view than most Englishmen did in such matters. They were not bothered by the matter of religion and therefore, the appointment was made without further complications

20 Elul in History

Today is the passing of Rav Eliyahu Lopian (1872-1970), author of Lev Eliyahu. He was the mashgiach (spiritual advisor) of Kelm; Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Etz Chaim in London, and mashgiach at Kfar Chassidim. R’ Shalom Schwadron (1911-1997) was one of his students.

After having dedicated 25 years of his life to Yeshivat Eitz Chaim, Reb Elyahu passed the leadership of the yeshivah over to Rav Greenspan.

Reb Elyahu moved to Israel in 1950, when he was 76 years old.

For a person who says, “I will sin, then repent, I will sin again, then repent again,” it is not within such a person’s reach to repent.

Yoma Chapter 8

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29 August in History

Birthdate of English philosopher John Locke, 1632. Locke influenced the Founding Fathers of the United States. In 1689 he wrote his “Letter Concerning Toleration” in which he stated “Neither Pagan, nor Jew, ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his religion.” Locke was asked to right a constitution for the new colony of South Carolina. At the time, Christian merchants were complaining about the active involvement of Jews in the trade between South Carolina and the English Colony of Barbados. Locke saw the problem as bigotry, not “swarming Jewish merchants.” He inserted a line in the colonial charter that called for the protection of “Jews, heathens and other dissenters.”

19 Elul in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Moshe Zvi Aryeh Bick (1911-1990). Born in Medzbosz (Mezhbizh), Ukraine, but grew up in New York, he is recognized as one of the first great sages to be raised on American soil.

He studied under R’ Moshe Soloveitchik at the Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor and attended New York City public schools at night. At age 21, R’ Bick was hired by a shul in the Bronx. While there, he founded schools for both boys and girls. Later, he moved to Boro Park.

He was recognized as a master posek by both chassidic and non-chassidic communities, but never published his responsa.

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