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They (the Sages of of the post first Temple exile time period) said, “Since it is a time of favor(from Heaven), they would pray that the inclination for sexual desire be handed over to them too. They prayed, and he was delivered to them.

It was said to them, “Take heed. If you kill this spirit, the world will perish.” They kept him imprisoned three days. They sought in all Palestine an egg laid on that day. They could not find. They said among themselves, What should we do? If we will kill him, the world will perish. Should we pray for the half (that desire should exist only in legal cases)? We have a tradition that a half is not given from Heaven; so they put out his eyes, and left him.

Since then the inclination for sexual does not excite desire toward relatives.

Yoma Chapter 7


6 July in History

On 6 July 2008 Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, headed to South America as part of a public campaign to capture the most wanted Nazi in the world, Aribert Heim, also known as “Dr. Death” and bring him to justice, claiming that Heim was alive and hiding in Patagonia, either in Chile or Argentina. Dr. Zuroff elaborated on July 15, 2008 that he was sure Heim was alive and the groundwork had been laid to capture him within weeks.

Heim is alleged to have lived for many years in Cairo, Egypt under the alias of Tarek Farid Hussein and reportedly died there on August 10, 1992. His grave and body have not been found. At the end of a BBC documentary, broadcast 12 September 2009, it was stated that German Police visited Cairo in 2009 but found no evidence of Heim’s death.

24 Tammuz in History

In 1099 CE, when the crusaders captured Jerusalem during the First Crusade, the Jews of Jerusalem fled into a synagogue. The crusaders then set flame to the synagogue, burning alive all the Jewish men, women, and children who had taken refuge there. All Jews were barred from living in the city of Jerusalem for the following 88 years.


“They (the Sages of the post first Temple exile time period) cried with a loud voice to God.” What did they say? They cried, “Woe! Woe! The evil inclination for idolatry has destroyed the Temple, has killed all the just men, and exiled Israel from their land, and we see him yet among us. Why did You (God) created this inclination? To reward us more for overcoming him. We wish neither him nor the rewards.” Then fell down a piece of paper from Heaven, which was written on it: “Emeth” (Truth). [Says R. Hanina: Infer from this that the seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is “Truth.”]

They fasted three days and three nights. Then he (the evil inclination) was delivered into their hands. They saw a lion-cub of fire went out from the Holy of Holies. Then the prophet said to them, “Here is the evil spirit of idolatry.” As it is written [Zechariah v. 8], “This is the wickedness.” They caught him.

When a hair was torn out from his mane, he issued a cry which was heard at the distance of four hundred parsas. They said, “If he cries so loud, what can we do to him? He may be pitied in Heaven; what should we do so his voice be not heard? They were then advised to throw him into a leaden pot, as lead muffles the voice. They put him into a leaden pot, and covered it with a leaden lid, as it is written [ibid.], “And he said, this is the wickedness. And he cast it into the middle of the ephah, and he cast the weighty lead cover upon the mouth thereof.”

Since then idolatry ceased among Israel.

Yoma Chapter 7


5 July in History

In 1936, a Czechoslovak press photographer, Stephan Lux, shot himself in Geneva, during the League of Nations Assembly meeting, in protest against the treatment of Jews in Germany. He died in hospital the following night.

23 Tammuz in History

Rav Moshe Cordovero (Remak) (1522-1570). The Remak was the son of Rav Yaakov, one of the exiles from Cardova, Spain. He studied under the great kabbalists Rav Shlomo HaLevi Alkabetz (who would become his brother-in-law) and Rav Yosef Karo. Rav Chaim Vital was among his greatest talmidim. He was the author of Tomer Devora and Pardes Rimonim. In the latter book, he systematized all kabbalistic knowledge that had been revealed until then. In his sefer, Ohr Neā€™erav, he explains the necessity of studying Kabbalah but also criticizes those who study this subject without prior Torah knowledge, pointing out that one must first study Torah, Mishnah, and Gemara before studying Kabbalah. He also wrote a comprehensive commentary on the Zohar entitled Ohr Yakar, but it was not published for 400 years. Publication of this multi-volume work was finally begun in 1962 and completed in 1989. Although he served as Rosh Yeshiva and as a Dayan, his fame rests on his contribution to Kabbalistic literature and thought.

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November 2020