You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 17, 2011.

Eliyahu came close to the people and said,
“For how long will you be standing on two sides of the fence? If God is the Almighty, follow after Him. And if its Baal, go after him.”

The nation did not answer him.

Kings I 18:21

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18 February in History

In 1955, David Ben Gurion agrees to come out of retirement and serve as Defense Minister. Four months later he will also agree to serve as Prime Minister.

14 Adar in History

According to the opinions that Moses was born on the 7th of Adar I, today was the 8th day of his life and the day on which he was circumcised in accordance with the Divine command to Abraham.

19 February in History

In 2004, Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal was awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of a “lifetime of service to humanity.”

15 Adar in History

In regular years, the 15th of Adar is Shushan Purim, the festival that celebrates — in Jerusalem and other ancient walled cities — the salvation of the Jewish people from Haman’s evil decree in the year 3405 from creation (356 BCE). In a leap year — which has two Adars — Shushan Purim is observed in Adar II, and the 15th of Adar I is designated as Shushan Purim Kattan, the “Minor Shushan Purim.”

There are no special observances associated with Shushan Purim Kattan, other than the omission of Tachnun (“supplications”) from the daily prayers and a prohibition against fasting or holding eulogies on this day. The Code of Jewish Law cites an opinion that one should increase in festivity and joy, but rules that there is no obligation to do so; “Nevertheless,a person should increase somewhat in festivity… for ‘One who is of good heart is festive always’ “

“One may place vessels to receive rain.”

A Boraitha taught: When the vessel was full, he might empty it, and put it in its former place again; and so repeatedly. The handmill of Abayi was exposed to the rain (and he had not enough vessels to protect it).

He came to Rabba his Master, and asked; and he answered: Go and place your bed in that room (where the handmill was), and then the handmill will be considered as a night chamber, which may be removed from a bedroom (and then he can remove the bed again).

Abayi himself considered the law and said to himself: May one turn a clean thing into an objectionable thing intentionally?

While he sat and thought thus, the handmill cracked. Said he: I deserve this punishment because I was disobeying my Master.

Beitzah Chapter 4

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17 February in History

In 1929, today was the birthday of the author Chaim Potok. A graduate of Yeshiva University, Potok was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi after studying at The Jewish Theological Society. He earned a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He decided to become a writer after reading Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited in 1945. He was fourteen years old, and all he had read were magazines and pulp fiction. He wanted to read a serious adult book, and he chose Brideshead Revisited at random from the public library.

He later said about reading it, “I found myself inside a world the merest existence of which I had known nothing about. I lived more deeply inside the world in that book than I lived inside my own world.”

13 Adar in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986). Born in Uzda (near Minsk), Belorussia, he was the son of R’ Dovid Feinstein, who was a grandchild of the Be’er Hagolah. His mother was Feige Gittel, daughter of R’ Yechiel, rov of Kopolia. He joined the yeshiva of R’ Isser Zalman Meltzer in Slutzk at the age of twelve.

At the age of sixteen, R’ Moshe completed Shas and Shulchan Oruch. He was rabbi of Lyuban from 1921 to 1936. He escaped the Stalinist regime in 1936 and settled in New York as rosh yeshiva of Tiferes Yerushalayim. He authored Igros Moshe, Darash Moshe, and Dibros Moshe.

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