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In the future the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring the evil inclination and slaughter him in the presence of both the righteous and the wicked.

To the righteous he will look like a high mountain, and to the latter he will look like a thin hair. Both, however, will cry.

The upright will cry, saying, “How could we overpower such a high mountain?” and the wicked will cry, saying, “How could we not overcome such a thin hair?”

Sukkah Chapter 5


13 December in History

In 1250, Frederick II passed away. During his reign as Holy Roman Emperor Frederick created a secular government in Palermo, feat without parallel in the middle ages, with a written constitution that guaranteed the rights of his subjects, be they Christian, Arab, or Jew, and the religious freedom that went along with it.”

When he founded the University of Naples in 1224, “he took care that its faculty included Christians, Muslims and Jews, and that all of these languages were taught, together with the laws and literature of these cultures. Equally remarkable considering the times was Frederick’s edict ordering religious toleration for Christians, Muslims and Jews throughout his realm.”

During the Sixth Crusade, he dealt with the issues through negotiations and not military action. His rule of Jerusalem was marked by a period of “religious toleration for Muslims, Christians and Jews.”

6 Tevet in History

Today marks the passing of Rebbetzin Beila Morgenstern (1908-2006). First-born daughter of the Admor (Chassidic Leader) of Ozerov-Chenchin, Rav Moshe Yechiel Epstein, author of Aish Das and Be’er Moshe.

She married Rav Tzvi Hershel Morgenstern, a descendent of the Kotzker Rebbe. Her husband served as a principal of the Bronx Bais Yaakov. She always recited the entire sefer tehillim (book of Psalms) on the yahrtzeit (date of passing) of every one of her noble forefathers and asked Hasehm that their merit should protect all of the Jewish people. Among her grandchildren are Rav Dovid Altusky and Rav Yechiel Altusky.

He who has not seen the building of the Second Temple, has not seen a handsome building in his life.

Which time of the Second Temple?  It means the building of Herod.

Of what materials was it built? Said Rabba: Of black and white marble; and according to others, of other colors also. He made one tier of stones projecting outward, and one tier of stones remaining inside. He wished to overlay it with gold, but the sages said to him: Leave it so, because it is more beautiful, having the appearance of waves of the sea.

Sukkah Chapter 5


12 December in History

In 1925, the Majlis of Iran votes to crown Reza Khan as the new Shah of Persia. The new Shah removed “removed restrictions on Jews and other religious minorities.’ He prohibited the mass conversion of Jews and “Jews were allowed to hold government jobs.” But the Shah’s sympathetic view of Nazi Germany, along with an under-current of anti-Jewish sentiment, left the community with a sense of discomfort.

5 Tevet in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Shlomo Molcho (1500-1532). Born in Lisbon, Portugal, a descendant of Portuguese Marranos. He published 22 essays on the topic of redemption according to the secrets of Kabbalah in his work, Sefer Hamefoar.

He met with the Pope and asked him to stop the campaign against the Marranos. He also met Rabbi Yossef Karo in Tzfat and the Kabbalist Rabbi Yosef Taitzik of Salonica who taught R’ Molcho Kabbalah.

His speeches inspired many Marranos to publicly return to their faith. Arrested by the officers of the Inquisition, he recited Shema with great joy as he was burned at the stake by Roman Emperor Charles V in Mantua, Italy.

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December 2010