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Aggadah

When the Priests, Levites, and Israelites would leave the Temple, they would turn their backs towards the door and their faces towards the Alter.

And so too when a student leaves the teacher.

Yoma Chapter 5

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28 June in History

Former President James Madison passed away (1836). Madison worked with his mentor Thomas Jefferson to ensure freedom of religion in the state of Virginia in the years between the Revolution and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Madison played in a key role in the ratification of the first ten amendments of the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights. The first of those amendments guaranteed the separation of church and state. Madison was the first President to appoint a Jew to a U.S. diplomatic post.

16 Tammuz in History

In the year 2448 from Creation (1313 BCE), Tammuz 16 was the 40th day following the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and the people of Israel wrongly expected Moses’ return from the mountain (he would actually return on the following day). When their leader failed to return, they demanded from Aaron: “Make us a god that shall go before us”. Hur (Moses’ nephew, the son of Miriam and Caleb) tried to stop them and was killed by the mob. Aaron fashioned a calf of molten gold.

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Aggadah

The rabbis taught: Ben Kamtsar did not want to teach the art of writing. It was said of him: He used to take four quills between his four fingers, and when he had to write a word of four letters, he wrote it at once.
The Rabbis asked him, “Why do you not teach it to others?”
He found no answer.
Therefore of the first (the families of Garmu and Avtinas it is said “The memory of the just is blessed”; and of Ben Kamtsar and his family it is said: “The name of the wicked shall rot.”

What is meant by “rot”? How can a name “rot”? R. Elazar said, “Their name will contract such a rottenness that children will not be named after them.”

Yoma Chapter 3

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8 June in History

In 1789, James Madison introduces a proposed Bill of Rights in the House of Representatives. Those favoring ratification of the U.S. Constitution promised that a Bill of Rights (what would be the first ten amendments to the Constitution) would be enacted as soon as the new federal government was formed. The First Amendment is of particular importance to adherents to a faith tradition in general and Jews in particular because it guarantees freedom of religion in the nation’s organic document. This has made the experience of Jews in the United States different from all other Diaspora Communities.

26 Sivan in History

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yonatan Ben Uziel. He lived in the Second Temple era and was a student of Hillel the Elder.
There is a Rabbinic saying that attests to his stature of scholarship and piety, “Hillel the Elder had eighty students. Thirty were worthy of the Divine Presence resting on them as it did for Moses; another thirty were worthy of having the sun stop as it did for Yehoshua the son of Nun. The other twenty were in between. The greatest of this group was Yonatan Ben Uziel.”

He wrote a translation on the Bible and the Books of the Prophets in Aramaic . This translation is printed in most Bibles.

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