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Hillel the Elder had a different approach than Shammai, Hillel would enjoy which ever food was present because all his deeds were for the sake of Heaven, he would trust in God to provide for Sabbath at the proper time, as it is written [Ps. lxviii. 20]: “Blessed be the Lord! day by day he loads us with benefits.”

Beitzah Chapter 2

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27 January in History

In 661 CE, the Rashidun Caliphate ends with death of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. Begun in 632, the Caliphate marked a period of conquest that gave Islam control over a large swath of North Africa, the old Persian Empire and the modern Middle East. It was during this period that the forces of Islam defeated the Byzantines thus giving them control over Jerusalem.

22 Shevat in History

Today marks the passing of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk (1787-1859), renowned Chassidic leader, and forerunner of the “Ger” Chassidic dynasty.

It also marks the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushkah Schneerson (b. 1901), wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, passed away on the 22nd of Shevat of the year 5748 (1988).

Precious little is known about her. Not due to lack of interest, but due to her fervent desire to remain unknown.  She was once asked why she preferred to hear the Shofar blown at home, rather than at Shul.  She responded, “I cannot bear the fuss people make of me when I appear in public.”

Her early twenties saw the intensification of the Communist war against the Jewish soul and the beginning of her father’s heroic struggle. During those dark Soviet nights, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak had his daughter Chaya Mushka at his side.

Cognizant of her wisdom and strength, her father involved her in much of his work. Young Chaya Mushka was asked to secretly transport food and supplies to Rostov’s underground Yeshiva, in the knowledge that she could be relied upon for her discerning judgment.

Life became increasingly dangerous for the Jews of Rostov, and in the spring of 1924 her family moved to Leningrad, where Chaya Mushka’s involvement continued.

In a recently discovered document dated December 4, 1924, her father wrote:

I hereby empower citizen Chaya Moussia Yosepuvna (daughter of Yosef) Schneersohn, residing at Machovaya Street 12/22, apartment 10, to receive monies on my behalf or documents that are addressed to me, in all forms, from the government bank and all of its branches and offices, and from other banks, government or communal, or from other organizations or private persons or by telegraph.

Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka was 23 years old at the time.

They called on to another, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts. The entire world is filled with His glory.”

Isaiah 6:3

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21 January in History

In 1903, Harry Houdini escaped fromthe police station Halvemaansteeg in Amsterdam.

16 Shevat in History

Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Maroglis first served as rabbi in Brestitzki, Poland, and later in Dubno, Poland/Ukraine. He is the author of a digest of halachic responsa written after the publication of the Code of Jewish Law, known as “Shaarei Teshuvah.”

This work can be found in the margins of most prints of the Code of Jewish Law.

22 January in History

In 1167, Ibn-Ezra passed away at the age of 78 in Calahorra which was on the border between Navarre and Aragon. There is no way that any entry could do justice to this Sephardic writer, philosopher, scientist and world traveler.

17 Shevat in History

A noxious plot was brewing against the Jewish community of Saragossa, Spain, but they were completely unaware of the looming danger. They were spared, however, thanks to a handful of synagogues beadles who acted on a dream they all had. The resulting salvation on the 17th of Shevat was celebrated by Saragossan Jews, and dubbed “Purim Saragossa.”

A Hebrew Megillah (scroll) was penned, describing the details of the miraculous story. To this day, this scroll is read in certain communities on Purim Saragossa.

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