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It happened once that a disciple of Beth Hillel brought his burnt-offering into the Temple-court for the purpose of laying his hands upon it, and a disciple of the school of Shammai (who maintain you do not need to lay your hands on the animal) met him and said: Why the handling? And he replied: Why are you not silent?

Thus, he silenced him with a rebuke, so that he went away.

Said Abayi, “From this we may infer that if a young scholar says to another a few words, the answer shall not be more lengthy than the remark which was addressed, as we have seen in the case of the two disciples, when he asked him: ‘Why the laying of the hands?’ he answered him: Why not be silent?’

Beitzah Chapter 2


31 January in History

In 1848, today was the birthdate of Nathan Straus who the wealthy American businessman and philanthropist who owned R.H. Macy & Company and Abraham and Straus. Born in Otterberg, Germany, Strauss moved to the United States with his family in 1854 where they first settled in Georgia before moving to New York City after the Civil War where young Nathan worked in his father’s firms L Straus & Sons.

In the 1880’s he began a life of philanthropy and public service that included leading the fight against tuberculosis and a major effort to improve the public libraries. His philanthropy extended to developing a Jewish homeland in Eretz Israel following his first visit to the area in 1912.

His support is memorialized by the fact that a street in the Jerusalem is called “Rehov Straus” and that the city of The modern Israeli city of Netanya, founded in 1927, was named in his honor.

26 Shevat in History

Shevat 26 is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of Rabbi Dovid ben Shmuel Halevi (1586-1667), a primary Halachic authority, known as Taz after his work Turei Zahav (“Rows of Gold”) — a commentary on Rabbi Yosef Caro’s Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law).

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November 2020