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Hezekiah said in the name of R. Yirniha in the quoting R. Shimon Bar Yoahai, “I could exempt the entire world from from its judgement from the day I was created until now.  And, if you include my son Elazar with me, together we could exempt the world from its judgement from the day the world was created until now.

Sukkah Chapter 4

Rashi comments: Exempt: in my merit, I could bare all the deeds and sins of everyone, and exempt them from judgement.


The Mahrasha comments that R. Shimon Bar Yohai was making this statement in reference to the suffering he and his son endured while hiding in the cave to escape from the Roman authorities.


1.  Why does physical anguish alleviate  judgement?

2.  What does R. Shimon’s statement indicate about the interrelated connection between leaders and the rest of humanity?

3. Notice R. Shimon does not limit his statement to the Jewish people, but to all of humanity.


14 November in History

In 1916, today is this birthdate of writer and producer, Sheldon Schwartz. Schwartz is another Jew who played a key role in the creation of what some call middlebrow American culture. He wrote for Ozzie and Harriet, produced The Brady Bunch and created and produced Gilligan’s Island.

7 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Dovid Sinzheim of Strasbourg, France (1745-1812). He served as President of the “Sanhedrin” established by Napolean, the first meeting of which occurred on February 9th, 1807.

On October 6, 1806, the Assembly of Notables issued a proclamation to all the Jewish communities of Europe, inviting them to send delegates to the Sanhedrin, to convene on October 20. This proclamation, written in Hebrew, French, German, and Italian, speaks in extravagant terms of the importance of this revived institution and of the greatness of its imperial protector. While the action of Napoleon aroused in many Jews of Germany the hope that, influenced by it, their governments also would grant them the rights of citizenship, others looked upon it as a political contrivance. When in the war against Prussia (1806–7) the emperor invaded Poland and the Jews rendered great services to his army, he remarked, laughing, “The sanhedrin is at least useful to me.”


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May 2020