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It happened that once the high-priest made his prayer very long when leaving the Holy of Holies. When the other priests became alarmed (concerned that he had died, since priests that did not possessed enough sanctity  could die when entering the Holy of Holies), they went to see whether he had died, and met him while he was returning.

They asked him why he had made his prayer so long. He said, “Is this displeasing to you, that I prayed to the Lord that the Temple might not be destroyed?” They said to him, “Do not repeat your prayer, since it is taught in the Mishna, ‘The High Priest should not make his prayer long, lest he alarm the congregation.'”

Yoma Chapter 5


27 June in History

In 1941, German units in Bialystok began to randomly shoot Jews. Eight hundred were locked in the Synagogue, which the Nazis then it set on fire. More were forced in during the blaze. Resisters were shot. The Germans threw hand grenades into Jewish homes. By the end of the day, 2,000 Jews were murdered. Similar horrors took place in Minsk.

15 Tammuz in History

Today is the Yahrzeit of Rav Chaim ben Atar, the Or HaChaim Hakadosh, (1696-1743). Born into a well-respected family in Sali, Morocco, Rav Chaim spent his early years learning with his grandfather, whose name he shared.

Rav Chaim’s dream was to go to Israel. With 30 followers he arrived in Israel, four days before Rosh HaShanah in 1742 and settled in Acco. Rav Chaim and his students spent Yom Kippur in the cave of Eliyahu HaNavi, Elijah the Prophet, on Mount Carmel. Purim was spent in Tzfat and Miron, where a great deal of time was spent studying the holy Zohar.

On the 15th of Elul of 1743, Rav Chaim finally arrived in Jerusalem with his group. He immediately established a yeshiva called Knesset Yisrael and second secretive yeshiva for the study of Kabbalah. One of his new students was Rav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai, later to be known as the Chida, who at that time was only 18 years old.

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May 2020