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So says God,
The Lord, creator of heavens, and stretched them out,
Creator of the earth and what it brings forth,
Who gives soul to the nation on it,
And spirit to those that walk on it:

I am God.
I have called you to righteousness.
I have taken hold of your hand.
I have formed you.
I have placed you as a covenantal people:
A light to the nations.

Isaiah 42:4-5

~~~

29 September in History

In 1907, Bar Giora, a Palestinian Jewish self-defense organization was formed to protect the Jewish settlements from raiders. Two years later it was reorganized into HaShomer (the Watchman) by Israel Shochat. HaShomer was eventually transformed into the Haganah. Despite opposition from local Jews and the “Baron’s” overseers (i.e. Baron Rothschild), they persevered with the idea of Jews taking responsibility for their own defense.

21 Tishrei in History

Today is known as Hoshana Rabba. In addition to the Four Kinds taken every day of Sukkot, it is a “Rabbinical Mitzvah”, dating back to the times of the Prophets, to take an additional aravah, or willow, on the 7th day of Sukkot. In the Holy Temple, large, 18-foot willow branches were set around the altar. Today, we take the Four Kinds and carry them together with the Four Kinds around the reading table in the synagogue during the “Hashaanot” prayers, of which we recite a more lengthy version today, making seven circuits around the table (instead of the daily one). At the conclusion of the Hoshaanot we strike the ground five times with a bundle of five willows, symbolizing the “tempering of the five measures of harshness.”

30 September in History

In 1337, in Bavaria, a German knight named Hartmann von Deggenburg led his horseman through the gates of Deckendorf, where they joined the local citizenry, in slaughtering the local Jewish population and seizing their property. The Jews had been accused of desecrating the host or communion wafer and the slaughter was the punishment for the foul deed. In reality the councilors of the city of Deckendorff desired to free themselves and all the citizens from the debts owed to the Jews. The anti-Semitic violence spread to fifty-one communities, including Bohemia and Austria.

22 Tishrei in History

In today’s musaf prayer we begin to insert the phrase mashiv haruach umorid hageshem (“who makes the wind blow and brings down the rain”) in our daily prayers (as we’ll continue to do through the winter, until the 1st day of Passover). Special hymns on rain and water are added to musaf in honor of the occasion.

1 October in History

In 331 BCE Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated the Persian army at Gaugamela. This victory cemented Greek domination over the Persian Empire. Alexander would be crowned “King of Asia” after the battle. Alexander’s armies were instrumental in bringing Greek culture to the lands of Asia Minor including the homeland of the Jewish people. This would mark the beginning of the uneasy and sometimes violent interaction between the world of Moses and Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, et al.

23 Tishrei in History

Today is Simchat Torah (“Rejoicing of the Torah”), on which we conclude, and begin anew, the annual Torah reading cycle. The event is marked with great rejoicing, and the “hakafot” procession, held both on the eve and morning of Simchat Torah, in which we march and dance with Torah scrolls around the reading table in the synagogue.

During today’s Torah reading, everyone, including children under the age of Bar Mitzvah, is called up to the Torah; thus the reading is read numerous times, and each aliyah is given collectively to many individuals, so that everyone should recite the blessing over the Torah on this day.

2 October in History

It was on this day in 1656, Yom Kippur services were held for the first time in Amsterdam. Neighbors thinking they were secret Catholics reported them to the authorities and the leaders were arrested. Once it was explained that they were secret Jews rather then Papists, they were let alone and the leaders released. The oldest synagogue in Amsterdam (possibly all of Western Europe) is “The Great Synagogue” built in 1671. According to historians, it was built so that Jews would not have to worship in clandestine places.

24 Tishrei in History

The Shabbat after Simchat Torah is Shabbat Bereishit — “Shabbat of Beginning” — the first Shabbat of the annual Torah reading cycle, on which the Torah section ofBereishit (“In the Beginning”) is read.

Mishnah:
If one builds a Sukkah on the top of a wagon, or on a boat, it is valid, and may be used on the festival.

Gemarah:
This Mishnah is in accordance with the opinion of R. Akiva only, as is recorded in a Baraitah:

If a Sukkah was made on a ship, Rabban Gamaliel says it is invalid, and R. Akiva says it valid. It happened once that Rabban Gamaliel and R. Akiva were on a ship, and R. Akiva constructed a Sukkah on the ship.

The next day, a wind blew it off. Rabban Gamaliel said to him: Akiva, where is your Sukkah?

Sukkah Chapter 2

~~~

28 September in History

In 1850, the United States Navy abolished flogging as a form of punishment. One of America’s early Jewish naval officers played a key role in this change. Uriah Phillips Levy had abolished flogging aboard his ship back in the 1830’s, an action that led to his court martial. However, the decision was overturned by President Tyler and he was reinstated.

Levy commanded the Mediterranean Squadron of the U.S. Navy and reached the rank of Commodore (in the old Navy, this was rank just below Admiral). Levy passed away in 1862.

Parenthetically, Levy was an in awe of President Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, and Monticello, Jefferson’s estate was inherited by his eldest daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph. Financial difficulties led to Martha selling Monticello to James T. Barclay, a local apothecary, in 1831. Barclay sold it in 1834 to Levy. During the American Civil War, the house was seized by the Confederate government and sold, though Uriah Levy’sestate recovered it after the war.

The Levy family maintained Monticello until it was turned over the Jefferson Memorial Associate in the 1920’s.

20 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Eliezer Papo, author of Peleh Yoetz and Damesek Eliezer (1785-1828). Born in Sarajevo, he led the community of Selestria, Bulgaria, and died early at the age of 41.

He is considered the exemplary spokesman of the Sephardic musar tradition of the eighteenth century.

He promised in his will that, “Whoever comes to my grave in purity after immersing in a mikveh, and prays with a broken heart, I guarantee him that his prayer will be accepted.” As such, his kever in Silestra, Bulgaria, is the destination of hundreds of visitors annually.

Rabban Gamaliel said to the sages, “Do you see my servant Tabbi? He is a scholar (Talmud Hakham), and knows that servants are exempt from the duty of Sukkah: therefore he sleeps under a bed.” From this we learn that he who sleeps under a bed has not fulfilled his duty.

R. Simeon said, “From R. Gamaliel’s remarks we have learned two things, that servants are free from the duty of a Sukkah, and that one who sleeps under a bed has not fulfilled the duty of Sukkah.”

Why did R. Simeon say, “from R. Gamaliel’s decree.” [R. Simeon should have said from R. Gamaliel’s comment?] R. Simeon comes to teach us by the way that R. A’ha bar Adda, according to others the same in the name of R. Hamnuna, quoting Rabh, who said, “From where do we know that even a remark of a scholar must be studied? Since it is written [Ps. i.] “And the leaf does not wither,” even the extemporaneous comments (the non-fruits) need to be studied.”

Sukkah Chapter 2

~~~

27 September in History

In 1540, the Society of Jesus known as The Jesuits was founded by Ignatius Loyola The first Jesuits were Spanish Christians who began their work at a time when the reconquest of Spain from the Moslems was but recently accomplished, and persons with Moorish or Jewish ancestry were under suspicion. It is accordingly much to their credit that the Jesuits were firmly opposed (particularly under Ignatius and his first three successors as Superior General of the Jesuits) to ecclesiastical anti-Semitism and to the Inquisition’s persecution of suspected Jews. When Ignatius was accused of having partly Jewish ancestry, he replied, “If only I did! What could be more glorious than to be of the same blood as the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin, and our Lord Himself?”

19 Tishrei in History

Rav Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797). At the age of seven he gave his first public discourse and displayed a fully developed intellect. By the time he was ten he had advanced to the point where he no longer needed a teacher. At the age of 35 he was approached by one of the leading sages of that time, Rabbi Yonason Eybschutz, to act as an intermediary in the conflict between him and another great sage, Rabbi Yakov Emden.

The Gaon’s son testified that for fifty years his father did not sleep for more than two hours in a twenty-four hour period. His breadth of knowledge was amazing. He was capable of stating from memory the number of times any sage was mentioned in any particular book of the Talmud. His knowledge of both the revealed and the hidden parts of the Torah was beyond compare. The Gaon considered secular knowledge to be a vital adjunct to Torah study. He was knowledgeable in almost all secular fields and authored books on grammar and mathematics.

Among his many writings is Aderes Eliyahu, a commentary on Chumash.

We learned in a Boraitha: R. Hananiah said: When I came into the exile, I found an old man who said to me that to cover a Succah with a mat is lawful; afterwards, when I came to R. Joshuah my father’s brother, he admitted this theory.
Said R. Hisda: This is only when it is not seamed. Said Ullah: The mats from the city of Mehuzah, but for their seams, would be lawful to be used for covering.

So also we have learned in a Boraitha: Mats may be used for covering, provided they have no seams.

Sukkah Chapter 1

~~~

26 September 2010

In 1762, today is the birthdate of Moses Schreiber, known to his own community and Jewish posterity as Moshe Sofer, also known by his main work Chasam Sofer, (trans. Seal of the Scribe and acronym for Chidushei Toras Moshe Sofer), (1762 – 1839), was one of the leading Orthodox rabbis of European Jewry in the first half of the nineteenth century. He was a teacher to thousands and a powerful opponent to the Reform movement, which was then making inroads into many Jewish communities in Austria-Hungary and beyond. As Rav of the city of Bratislava, he maintained a strong Orthodox Jewish perspective through communal life, first-class education, and uncompromising opposition to Reform and radical change.

18 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, born to Feige, grand-daughter of the Ba’al Shem Tov, and Simcha, son of Nachman of Horodenka, the Ba’al Shem Tov’s close friend, in Mezhbizh. (1772-1810). He contracted tuberculosis at some point between 1806 and 1810, a period during which he lost his son, daughter, and wife. He moved from Breslav to Uman on May 9, 1810, and died there October 16.

It will be on that day, that God will be King over all of the land.

God will be one.

His name will be one.

Zechariah, 14:9

22 September in History

Today in 1521, Selim I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire passed away. Selim did away with the Law of No Return, the Roman ban on Jews living in Eretz Israel. The ban was in force until the 16th century. Limits on Jewish immigration would reappear with the British White Paper. Like many other members of Ottoman royalty, Selim employed a Jewish physician.

14 Tishrei in History

This is the day prior to Sukkot or the Festival of Booths, which commemorate the protection the Jews had while traveling through the desert from Egypt to Israel. The protection either came in the form of booths they had built, or from the Divine clouds by day and pillar of fire by night that accompanied the Jewish people.

Some have a custom to prepare the “four species” durning the afternoon of this day. These species are taken in as part of the service of the holiday, and represent, the heart (Etrog or Citron) spine (Lulav or Palm) Lips (Aravot or Willows) and eyes (Hadasim or Myrtle).

23 September in History

Today in 1776 was Yom Kippur – American Jews fast for the first time as citizens of the newly independent United States

15 Tishrei in History

Today is the first day of Sukkot or the Festival of Booths. One this day, there is a biblical command to take the four species for Jews in all places. The command to take the four species every day of the holiday biblically applies only in the Temple. Yet, after the destruction of the Temple, the Rabbis ordained that the four species should be taken in all places, so “speedily when the Temple is rebuilt” we will know how to observe the law for the Temple, properly.

24 September in History

In 1936, more than 120,000 Jews from all parts of Palestine paid a last tribute to Meier Dizengoff, Mayor of Tel-Aviv, as his funeral procession passed through the principal streets of the city this morning from the Tel-Aviv Museum where his body had lying in state, to the cemetery. Pall bearers included Tel Aviv’s vice mayors I. Rokach and Dov Hos. In honor of Dizengoff’s wishes there were no eulogies and children, whom he considered “flower of Palestinian Jewry,” escorted his remains to the grave. He was buried between the grave of his late wife and those of Max Nordau and Achad Haam.

16 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Moshe Zacusa (the Ramaz) (1625-1697). One of the foremost kabbalists of his generation, he was the author of Kol Haramaz, a commentary on the Zohar, as well as Shorshei HaShemos, on he names of God. He taught Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato (the Ramchal) when the latter was still quite young.

25 September in History

In 1921, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is founded in New York. The school and the Pulitzer Prizes which it awards were possible because of an endowment by publish Joseph Pulitzer.

17 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Moshe Rosen, author of Nezer Hakodesh (1957).

Anything which can become impure, or does not grow from the ground, can not be used as the covering (Sechah) for the Sukkah.

Where is this learnered from?

Reish Lakish said, (Gen. 2:6), “But there went up a mist from the earth.” Just as a mist is not subject to impurity, and ascends from the earth, so also must the Succah be a thing not subject to impurity, and grow from the earth.

Yomah Chapter 1

~~~

20 September in History

In 1884, the Society of United Hebrew Charities met at Wheatly Hall in Philadelph to discuss the additional stress being place on its limited resources due to the huge influx of Russian immigrants.

13 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761-1837), outstanding Talmudist and Halachic authority.

There is a merit in tying the Lulab. However, is it valid if it is untied?

The Rabbis maintain, there is merit when it it is tied because it is nicer when tied.

Being nicer is a value, based on the verse (Ex. 25.:2) “This is my God, and I will beautify Him” means, “beautify your religious performances for the God’s sake.”

Sukkah Chapter 1

~~~

Today in 357 B.C.E., birthdate of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s eastern conquests would bring the Jews in contact with Greek Culture. The conflict between Greek and Jewish values would become a dominant motif in Jewish history over the next several centuries.

12 Tishrei marks the passing of Rabbi Abraham (1740-1776) the son of Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch and study partner of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi; known as “Rabbi Abraham the Angel” for his saintliness and ascetism.

A Sukkah which is higher than 20 ammot high is not valid.
Why is this?
Rabha explained, it is written [Lev. 23:43]: “In order that your generations may know that I caused the children of Israel to live in booths.” Up to twenty ammot a man knows that he is living in a booth, but higher than twenty ells he does not know, because his eyes do not frequently perceive the roof.

Sukkot Chapter 1

~~~

19 September in History

Israel launched its first satellite for secret military reconnaissance on this day 1988.

11 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Mar bar Rav Ashi 466 CE.

It is also the day after Yom Kippur, when one should start to build their Sukkah in advance of the upcoming holiday which will be celebrated on Wednesday night of this week.

Then God said,
“You cared about the plant, which you did not work for and which you did not grow, which appeared overnight and perished overnight. And I should not care about Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people how do not know the difference between their right hand and left hand, and many animals?”

Yonah 4:10-11

~~~

It was on 17 September 1918 tthat Chaim Herzog sixth President of Israel was born. Herzog was born in 1918 in Belfast, where his father, Dr Isaac Herzog, was rabbi. While Chaim was still a child, Isaac was appointed Chief Rabbi of Ireland and the family moved to Dublin. Chaim is remembered there as a former bantam-weight boxing champion. After college, he moved to Palestine in 1935. He joined the Palmach and defended Jewish settlements during the Arab Uprising that lasted from 1936 until 1938. Herzog returned to England where he studied to become a lawyer. He fought with the British forces in Europe during World War II where his forte was intelligence. After the war, he returned to Palestine where he took an active role in the fighting to create the new state of Israel.

After the war, the new state made use of Herzog’s knowledge of Intelligence work. He enjoyed a successful career filling several military, civilian and private sector positions. He passed away in 1997.

Chaim Herzog in his own words: “I do not bring forgiveness with me, nor forgetfulness. The only ones who can forgive are dead; the living have no right to forget.”

On 9 Tishrei,the day before Yom Kippur is a Yom Tov, a festive day; for although we stand prepared to be judged in the supernal courtroom for our deeds of the passed year, we are confident that God is a merciful judge, and will decree a year of life, health and prosperity for us.

Two festive meals are eaten — one at midday and the other before the fast, which begins at sunset. The Talmud states that “Whoever eats and drinks on the 9th [of Tishrei], it is regarded as if he had fasted on both the 9th and the 10th.”

In 18 September, 1851, 1851: The New-York Daily Times, which will become The New York Times, begins publishing.

10 Tishrei is the fast of Yom Kippur. In addition to being the day when God granted forgiveness for the sin of the Golden Calf, it is also the day when Rebecca, wife of Isaac, mother of Jacob and Esau, and one of the four matriarchs of Israel, was born. She lived from 1677 – 1556 BCE.

Faith in God is the most exalted thought. It is so primal, it can be found at all levels, even the lowest and most crass. Yet, at every level, faith in God sheds light, according to the level.

Those who wish to become wise, who try to step up to the “small of faith” level, from the most crass and dark, lift and jump themselves up. Yet, this level of faith does not yet make sense to them. The “small of faith” level is not yet ready for them, yet they are not able to stay at the lower level. They are wound in a sling shot of contradictory ideas, until their help comes, from its holy place.

Rav Avraham Yitschak HaKohen Kook
El-HaMidot
Emunah

~~~

On September 16, 1910, the Jews of Salonica compel editors of a Turkish paper that published anti-Semitic remarks to send a public retraction to every Turkish journal.

In 1977, Moshe Dayan returned to Morocco where he met with the Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister, Hassan Tuhami. Tuhami made it clear that Sadat was prepared to negotiate directly with Israel, that he did not insist on a conference with other Arab States and that he would accept an Israeli withdrawal from Sinai in return for a peace treaty. Sadat would not require settlement of any other issues as condition to signing the peace treaty. This meeting set the stage for the Camp David negotiations that would take place in the following year.

On 8 Tishrei, the 14-day dedication festivities, celebrating the completion of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem built by King Solomon, commenced on the 8th of Tishrei of the year 2935 from creation (826 BCE). The First Temple served as the epicenter of Jewish national and spiritual life for 410 year, until its destruction by the Babylonians in 423 BCE.

My God, before I was created I had not been worthy to be created; and now when created, I am the same as before.

I am earth during my life, and so much the more when I will be dead.

I am entirely before You as a vessel full of disgrace and shame.

May it be Your will that I may not sin more; and my sins until now may You in Your great mercy wipe off, but not by means of suffering.

Yoma Chapter 8

~~~

In 1254, birthdate of Marco Polo. Marco Polo told of meeting Chinese Jews in his 1286 journey to China.

Birthday and Yahrtzeit of Zevulun son of Yaakov Avinu in 1450 BCE. It is also the birthday of Dina daughter of Yaakov.

The obligation to confess is on the eve of the Day of Atonement, when it grows dark. Still, the rabbis said, one should confess previously to the meal; for if something happen to him durning the meal, he will have died without a confession.

But although one has confessed before the meal, he should confess again in the evening, and once more the next morning, and in the additional prayer, afternoon prayer, and the concluding prayer.

Yoma Chapter 8

~~~

14 September, 1930: German voters elect 107 Nazis to the Reichstag, elevating Hitler’s organization to major party status.

6 Tishrei is the yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson (1879-1964), mother of the Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, also known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

When R. Zara was on bad terms with any person, he would walk by him repeatedly, that the other might change his heart, and appease him.

Yoma Chapter 8

~~~

Today (13 September) Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David in 1503.

It was on 5 Tishrei that Naftali, son of Jacob and Bilhah, was born and passed away.

5 Tishrei also marks the day when the great Talmudic sage, Rabbi Akiva, was taken captive by the Romans in the year 3894 from creation (134 CE).

R. Jose b. Hanina said, “When one tries to appease another, he does not need to try more than three times, as it is written [Gen. l. 17]: I pray You, forgive, I pray You, the trespass of your brothers, and their sin, for evil have they done unto you, and now we pray of you, forgive

If the offended person is dead, he should bring ten people to his grave and say: I have sinned against God and him who lies here.

Yoma Chapter 8

~~~

Today (4 Tishrei) the fast of Gedalia is observed. Gedaliah was appointed as governor over the Jews by Nebuchadnetzer after the destruction of the Temple 422 BCE or 419 BCE. He was assassinated on the second day of Rosh Hashana, and as such the fast is most often observed the day after Rosh Hashana, on the 3rd of Tishrei. This year, the Sabbath immediately followed Rosh Hashana, which pushes off the fast an additional day.

Today (12 September) was the birthdate of Alfred A. Knopf in 1892, founder of Alfred Knopf, Inc., the famous American publishing house. “He went to college to become a lawyer, but he fell in love with literature and decided to devote his life to it. At the time, the publishing world was a kind of gentlemen’s club and Knopf had a hard time fitting in because he was Jewish. He was the first Jewish employee at Doubleday. One of his first projects was to republish all of Joseph Conrad’s books in a set, which he did with the help of H.L. Mencken.

At the time that Knopf got into the publishing business, before television and widespread radio, people said that Americans didn’t read books—they just read the newspapers. Knopf thought that Americans might be more likely to read good books if books were beautiful to look at. He used beautiful, easy to read type and high quality paper, and he was the first publisher to cover his books with brightly colored jackets.

When Knopf founded his own publishing company, he didn’t have enough money to publish big-name American authors, so he published European authors instead. Most American publishers didn’t care about European literature, so Knopf was able to cheaply publish writers like Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, and Albert Camus. When several of his authors won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. became known as one of the best literary publishing houses.” It was his Jewish wife Blanche Wolf Knopf who encouraged him to follow his dream and start his own publishing house. She was more than just a cheerleader. She was President of Alfred A. Knopf, while her husband served as chairman of the board. She understood the publishing and was a driving force behind many of its major achievements.

Although the publishing company was sold in the 1960’s it remains as a known imprint to this day. Blanche died in 1966. Alfred Knopf passed away in 1984.

Note from Jeff:
Thank you to everyone who has downloaded this app and joined me on this journey. I wish you all much blessing, health, and healing in 5771.

שנה טובה
Happy New Year
jeff.alhadeff@gmail.com
twitter.com/jewishalmanac
~~~

So says God,
“A voice cries in Rama,
Wailing, bitter crying is heard,
Rachel is crying for her children,
She refuses to be consoled,
Since they are gone.”

So says God,
“Refrain your voice from crying,
Your eyes from tears,
There is a reward for your work, says God,
They will return from the lands of the enemies.”

There is hope at the end, says God, the children will return to their boundaries.

I have surely heard Ephraim (the Northern tribes) talking to himself,
“I have been rebuked, I will be corrected,
Like a calf who is yet untrained.
Return me, and I will return,
Since you are my God.”

“After I returned, I relented; after I knew (what I did)
I slapped my thigh. I am ashamed, and disgraced, since I have bore
The disgrace of my youth.”

“Ephraim is a precious child to me, a
Child of my pleasure:
The more I speak of him,
The more I remember him.
My insides pine for him.

I will surely have compassion on him,”
Says God.

Yermiah 31:14-19
~~~

8 September in History

In 1916, Salonica government declares compulsory military service is now required and that all Jews over 21 cannot leave from its newly acquired provinces.

29 Elul in History

Rav Eliezer Deutsch of Bonihad [or Bonyhad] (1914). Author of P’ri Hasadeh, Duda-ei Hasadeh. Bonihad is a small town in Tolna County in Hungary. The first document on the Jews of Bonyhád is a tax conscritption from 1741, although on the testimony of a few tombstones in the cemetery, Jews had already settled earlier, in the first decades of the century. In 1802, there were 400 Jewish families and an impressive synagogue and yeshivah. The population of about 6,500 in 1930 consisted of about 15% Jews, the largest number of Jews in Tolna County. With the German occupation in 1944, 1,180 Jews were deported to Pecs and then to Auschwitz. All but 50 perished. In 1963, 4 Jewish families remain in Bonyhad.

9 September in History

In 1850, California joins the Union adding a 33rd star to the U.S. flag. A year before California joined the Union there were enough Jews to hold Yom Kippur Services in San Francisco. By the end of the decade there were ten congregations in San Francisco and one in Sacramento. During this time there were two Jewish associate justices of the state court and at least one Jew was serving in the state legislature.

1 Tishrei in History

In 3760 BCE, on 1 Tishrei — the sixth day of creation — “God said: ‘Let us make Man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth…'” (Genesis 1:26). “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (ibid., 2:7). “And God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and to keep it” (2:15). “And G-d said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helpmeet opposite him’ … God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his sides, and closed up the flesh in its place. And God built the side which He had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. And the man said: ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother, and cleaves to his wife; and they become one flesh” (2:18-24).

It was also the day that the first transgression, and repentance, occurred.

10 September in History

In 1950, according to reports published today, the government of Israel will be issuing a stamp at harvest time picturing Stahveet, a cow which has produced 100,000 litres of milk, which may be a world’s record.

2 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Gedaliah ben Achikam, assasinated by Yishmael ben Nesanya. Gedaliah was appointed as governor over the Jews by Nebuchadnetzer after the destruction of the Temple 422 BCE or 419 BCE.

11 September in History

Marks the ninth year since the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the heroic acts of Flight 93.

Below are two recordings of cell phone calls from Flight 93:

“I have to go. They’re breaking into the cockpit. I love you.” Honor Elizabeth Wainio told her stepmother.

“Everyone is running up to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.” Flight attendant Sandra Bradshaw to her husband.

3 Tishrei in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Yisrael Lipshitz of Danzig, author of Tiferet Yisrael, a popular commentary on the Mishnayot (1782-1860). He also authored Shevilei D’rakiya, an introduction to the principles of Rabbinical astronomy and determining the Molad (new moon); it appears in the beginning of Seder Mo’ed in the “Tiferes Yisrael” sets of Mishnayot.

Additionally, he wrote ”Derush Ohr HaChaim” (Homily on the Light of Life) which debates the eternality of the soul.

He who has provoked his neighbor, even by words, must appease him, as it is written [Prov. vi. 1, etc.]: “My son, if you have become debtor for your friend,” etc., “go hasten to him and urge your friend,” which means, if you have his money, open your palm, and restore it to him; if not, request some persons to pray him to forgive you.

Yoma Chapter 8

~~~

7 September in History

70 CE, On the secular calendar the date on which a Roman army under Titus occupied and plundered Jerusalem.

28 Elul in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Aryeh Carmell (1917-2006) was born in England . At the age of 16, Aryeh was sent to study under Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler and became his talmid muvhak (student par excellance). Rav Carmell began to compile Rav Dessler’s teachings under his guidance. After the war he married, making his home in London. He would spend the morning hours learning with some of London’s leading Rabbis. In the afternoon he would go to his office to work for a few hours, setting aside time every day to organize chessed and outreach activities.

He was among the first to become involved in Jewish outreach over 50 years ago. Following Rav Dessler’s petirah he started Yad Eliyahu in London, where children who studied at public schools were taught ahavas Torah and yiras Shomayim. He published Michtav MeEliyohu, a compilation of Rav Dessler’s teachings. The first three volumes were edited with Rav Alter Halperin and Rav Chaim Friedlander, while Rav Carmell edited the fourth and fifth volumes by himself. He also adapted parts of the work into a book in English called Strive for Truth. He also co-edited Challenge: Torah Views on Science and its Problems and wrote an important booklet called Aid to Talmud Study.

When the wave of Russian aliya began he wrote a book called Masterplan. Based on Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch’s Chorev, it also presented reasons behind the commandments. Moving to Eretz Yisrael in 1972, Carmell settled in Jerusalem’s Bayit Vegan neighborhood and helped Rav Boruch Horowitz found Yeshivas Dvar Yerushalayim, Jerusalem’s first yeshiva for baalei teshuvoh returnees to Judaism. He gave lectures on gemora, Jewish perspectives, and ethics.

All sins mentioned in the Torah, whether one repents not, are atoned by the Day of Atonement, except throwing off the yoke (of God), expounding the Torah falsely, and abolition of circumcision (and mocking a fellow man). These sins are atoned for by the Day of Atonement, if one repents, but not otherwise.

Yoma Chapter 8

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6 September in History

In 1938, while traveling on the highway between Haifa and Tel Aviv Yechiel Weizmann, Chaim Weizmann’s brother and Yechiel’s son were injured when their car overturned after being fired on by gunmen lying in ambush. Another passenger, the son a prominent Haifa lawyer, died in the crash.

27 Elul in History

Elul 27 is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shalom Rokeach (1779-1855), founder of the Belz Chassidic dynasty.

Children are not made to fast on the Day of Atonement, but when one or two years prior to their coming of age they are accustomed to do it, so that they become habituated to obey the religious commandments.

Yoma Chapter 8

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5 September in History

In 1905, today the Russo-Japanese War comes to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth. According to some sources, Jewish financers had supported Japanese efforts to raise funds for fighting the war as an expression of their displeasure with Russia’s treatments of her Jews. President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the fighting. In additional to the Medal, there was a cash award four thousand dollars of which TR donated to the Jewish Welfare Board.

26 Elul in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Chaim Pinto of Mogador (1758-1845). The famous Pinto family was dispersed worldwide – primarily to Morocco, the Ottoman Empire, and Holland — after 1497 when Portugal expelled its Jews. Rav Shlomo Pinto married his second wife, Chiyuna Beneviste, and moved to Agadir, Morocco.

In 1758, Chiyuna gave birth to their son, Rav Chaim, whom they named after Rav Chaim Vital. Ten years later, Rav Shlomo passed away, leaving his son an orphan. The Sultan of Morocco, Sidi Mohammed, closed down the port of Agadir, replacing it with the new port of Mogador (or Essaquira) that he had completed 1765, far south on Morocco’s west coast. Mogador’s thriving businesses were jumpstarted by thirteen businessmen known as the toujiar el Sultan (the traders of the Sultan) – ten of them Jews and three of them Moslems – and thanks to them and others, Mogador helped open Morocco to Europe. Within twenty years, the Mogador Jews would comprise half or more of the town’s 6,000 residents.

Young Chaim moved to Mogador and learned in the yeshiva headed by the av beit din (head of rabbinical court), Rav Yaakov Bibas. Over time, Rav Chaim became an accomplished Kabbalist and renowned for his ruach hakodesh (Divine Inspiration and insight). Rav Chaim was survived by his four distinguished sons, Rav Yehuda, Rav Yosef, Rav Yoshiyahu, and Rav Yaakov.

Be glad, rejoice in God.
My soul will celebrate with my God,
He has dressed me in salvation clothing,
Wrapped me in a clock of righteousness,
Like a bridegroom is glorified with their clothing,
Like a bride dressed in finery.

Isaiah 61:10

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3 September in History

In 301 CE, San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, is founded by Saint Marinus. During World War II, the 15,000 people of San Marino provided a refuge for 100,000 fleeing the fascists, including a large number of Jews.

24 Elul in History

Elul 24 is the yahrtzeit of the revered Torah scholar, pietist and Jewish leader Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (1838-1933) of Radin (Poland), author of Chafetz Chaim, a work on the evils of gossip and slander and the guidelines of proper speech) and Mishnah Berurah (a codification of Torah law).

4 September in History

Young Jews take on the Gestapo in act of desperate resistance in Lachwa, Poland. One thousand Jews died on this day while 600 escaped into the surrounding woods. Of these an estimated one hundred survived the war.

25 Elul in History

Today is the last 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.

The 1st day of creation, on which God created existence, time, matter, darkness andlight, was the 25th of Elul. (Rosh Hashanah, on which we mark “the beginning of Your works”, is actually the 6th day of creation, on which the world attained the potential for the realization of its purpose, with the creation of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. Rosh Hashanah is therefore the day from which the Jewish calendar begins to count the years of history; the 1st day of creation thus occurred on the 25th of Elul of what is termed -1 from creation.

Rabbi Akiva said, “Happy are you, Israel. Before whom do you cleanse yourselves? Who cleanses you? Your Father who in Heaven. It is written, (Ezek. xxxvi. 25), “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean”; and it is also written, “The Mikveh (hope, or legal bath) of Israel is the Lord.” As the immersion bath purifies the unclean, so does the Holy One, blessed be He, cleanse Israel.

Yoma Chapter 8

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2 September in History

In 1926, today is the birthdate of department store mogul, political activist and philanthropist Betsy Bloomingdale.

23 Elul in History

On the 301st day of the great Flood, Noah sent a dove for the 2nd time from the ark. This time, the dove stayed away all day; “the dove came in to him in the evening, and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; and Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth” (Genesis 8:11).

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