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On the days of Shavuot (when the Torah was given) R. Joseph used to say to his servants, “Prepare for me a calf which is the third-born (of the third birth and which was the finest meat available).”

He would explain, “Were it not for this day, how many Josephs are there abroad!” (Were it not for the Torah, R. Joseph would not be distinguished among all the other people name Joseph).

Beitzah Chapter 2

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18 January in History

On January 18, 1943, the Germans began their second deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, which led to the first instance of armed resistance. The deportation was halted within a few days; only 5,000 Jews were removed instead of 8,000 as planned. The Nazis retreated, only to return three months later, at which time the Warsaw uprising started in earnest.

13 Shevat in History

Wife of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneerson, and mother of the sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah (1860-1942) lived through the upheavals of the first half of the 20th century. She fled the advancing front of World War I from Lubavitch to Rostov, where her husband passed away in 1920 at age 59.

In 1927, she witnessed the arrest of her son by Stalin’s henchmen the night he was taken away and sentenced to death, G-d forbid, for his efforts to keep Judaism alive throughout the Soviet empire.

After Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak’s release, the family resettled in Latvia and later, Poland; in 1940, they survived the bombing of Warsaw, were rescued from Nazi-occupied city, and emigrated to the United States.

Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah passed away in New York on the 13th of Shevat of 1942.

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Jeff

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It was said of Hillel the Elder the Prince: When he rejoiced at the drawing of the water, he used to say, “If I am here, all are here; but if I am not here, who is here?”

Sukkah Chapter 5

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28 Tevet in History

According to sources cited in Seder Hadorot, Tevet 28 is both the birthday and the day of passing of Shimon the son of Jacob; other sources place the date as Tevet 21 (1564-1447 BCE).

4 January in History

In 1943, armed with only one gun and knife members of the Jewish Fighting Organization at Czestochowa resisted a ‘selection.’ As a reprisal, the Germans shot 25 men. Czestochowa is a town in Poland famous for the “Black Madonna” and is scene of annual religious pilgrimages. Sometimes, the Jewish view is a little different than the non-Jewish view of places and events.

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