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The students asked Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, “Why did the Manna not fall once a year?”

He responded, “I will explain it with a parable. There was once a king who had a son, and he gave him his stipend once a year. The son only came to visit his father once that year. The king then decided to give him his stipend every day. So too Israel, if a person had four or five children would be concerned that his children would die, perhaps there would not be more Manna. They would then pray to God daily.”

Yoma Chapter 8


12 August

In 30 BCE, today Cleopatra committed suicide. According to Josephus, the Egyptian tried to convince her lover and co-ruler, Marc Antony, to give her control over lands to the east including Syria and Palestine. Herod was so afraid of her that he reportedly built the fortress at Masada as place of refuge should she attack. While Antony did not give into all of her demands, he did give her control over Jericho and several towns surrounding the ancient city.

2 Elul in History

The first printing of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) authored by Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575) was completed in the Holy Land on this date in 1555.

The manna was referred to as “bread,” “oil,” “honey.” What does this signify?

For the young it was bread, for the old it was oil, and for the children it was honey.

Yoma Chapter 8


10 August in History

In 70 CE, according to some sources, this is the date on the secular calendar when the Second Temple was destroyed.

30 Av in History

On the last day of Av of the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), Moses carved, by G-d’s command, two stone tablets — each a cube measuring 6x6x6 tefachim (a tefach, “handbreadth”, is approximately 3.2 inches) — to replace the two divinely-made tablets, on which G-d had inscribed the Ten Commandments, which Moses had smashed 42 days earlier upon witnessing Israel’s worship of the Golden Calf.

“When the dew fell in the morning” (Num.)
“The nation went out and gathered” (Ex.)
“The nation wondered, looking to gather (Num. 11)

How to interpret these three verses?

For the righteous, the Manna fell by their door. For the average, it fell nearby and they would collect it. For the wicked, they had to scavage to find their food.

Yoma Chapter 8


9 August in History

In 1933, in Vilna, Chamber of Commerce unanimously votes to proclaim a boycott against German goods in protest against the Nazi treatment of the Jews.

In 1938, in article entitled “Children Go to Palestine,” the New York Times reports on the migration of 167 Jewish children from Austria and Germany to Palestine. The youngsters are part of the Third Aliyah and are being settled at Ain Harod and Kfar Jecheskiel.

29 Av in History

In Vilna, Chamber of Commerce unanimously votes to proclaim a boycott against German goods in protest against the Nazi treatment of the Jews.

“The Manna was like Gad(Num).”

What is Gad? The Sages say [Gad] refers to the words of Agadah {notice the phonetic similarity} (the parables and ethical teachings of the Talmud) for they draw a person’s heart like water [is drawn from a well.]

Yoma Chapter 8


5 August in History

In 1264, Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Arnstadt Germany.

In 1885, Herzl withdrew from the court service in order to become a writer.

25 Av in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Yeshayahu Menachem ben Yitzchak of Cracow, the originator of the form of the Heter Iska, which allows Jews to enter into business agreements and charge interest, rather than consider granting the money as a loan, where interest would not allowed to be charged.

In Exodus the Manna is described as, “bread from heaven “; and in Numbers, “made cakes of it “; and elsewhere in Numbers “[the people] ground it.”

How can these be reconciled?

For the righteous, there was bread ready; as for the rest, they made cakes of the flour; and the wicked had to grind it.

Yoma Chapter 8


29 July in History

In 1942, Rav Shlomo Chanoch Rabinowitz, the 4th and last Rebbe of Radomsk, perished with his family in the Warsaw Ghetto. He was known for the network of Yeshivos Keser Torah he had established throughout Poland and Galicia. The Radomsker Chassidim during the period between the two World Wars, were counted among the three largest Chassidic movements in Poland.

18 Av in History

In 1881, the first ships containing large numbers of Russian Jews arrived in New York following pogroms in Russia. This was the beginning of mass immigration to the U.S. during that would change the face of the American Jewish Community. The great waves of immigration would slow with World War I and come to a halt during the 1920’s when an isolationism, nativism and racism closed the doors of America to most immigrants.

“Who fed you manna in the wilderness, which your fathers did not know, in order to afflict you (Deut. 8:16).” What was the affliction? R. Ami and R. Assi both had an interpretation, one explained that not to have bread in one’s basket is an affliction; the manna had to be hoped for every day. The other explained, not to see what one eats (the manna) is an affliction, since the manna had all the flavors any food you wished for, but always had the same appearance.

Yoma Chapter 8


27 July in Hitory

Bugs Bunny, with the voice of Mel Blanc, makes his official debut in the animated cartoon A Wild Hare.

16 Av in history

Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885). Born in Livorno, Italy, of Sephardic descent, he traced his lineage back to the exiles from the Spanish Expulsion. When he was still a young child his family resettled in England. Young Moses became a member of the London Stock Exchange at a time when there were only 12 licensed Jewish brokers in all of England. In a matter of a few years he had amassed great wealth and had become a member of the London Aristocracy.

In 1812, he married his wife Judith, whose sister was the wife of Reb Nathan Meyer Rothschild, one of the wealthiest Jews in Europe at the time. Sir Moses eventually became the stockbroker for his brother-in-law and as a result of their partnership they amassed a tremendous fortune. In addition, he was a partner in a large insurance company as well as a gas company that introduced gas lighting to many of the major cities of Europe. Sir Moses also had a hand in building railroads and many other industrial and financial enterprises.

In 1837, Montefiore was appointed Sheriff of London. In the same year, Queen Victoria, who had recently ascended the British Throne, awarded him the honorary title of Knighthood, bestowing upon him the title “Sir” Moses. In 1846, he was elevated to the rank of Baron.

By the time he was 41 years old, Sir Moses, with his wife’s encouragement, decided to retire from business affairs and devote the rest of his life, time and considerable resources to Jewish affairs. The welfare of the Jewish People became his sole business for the next 60 some years and his list of accomplishments is truly magnificent. When he was appointed as Sheriff of London, he specifically wrote in his contract that he would be absolved from working on Shabbat and other Jewish holidays. He also specified that he was to be absolved from entering a Church on non-Jewish holidays.

Even when he was traveling, he almost always made sure to travel with an entourage of at least 10 Jews to ensure that he would have a minyan. He also took one of the many sifrei Torah that he owned along with him.

In 1840, a monk named Thomas disappeared from his home several weeks before Pesach. The French Counsel in Damascus blamed the Jews for his disappearance and claimed that they killed the monk to use his blood for matzoh. Prominent Damascus Jews were imprisoned and tortured. Many died and some, who could not withstand the torture, “confessed” under duress to the crime. Upon learning of it, Sir Moses traveled to Damascus to save the country and the honor of the Jewish people.

In 1846, Sir Moses was invited by the Russian government to visit Russia in connection with its Jewish situation. Upon returning to London, he demanded equal rights for the Jews and stressed that it would also be an economic blessing for the country.

Montefiore’s 100th birthday was celebrated as an official holiday in London and he was accorded great honor by both Jew and non-Jew alike. The Montefiores died childless.

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November 2020