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The family of Avtinas were skilled at making the incense, but would not teach how to make it. As with the family of Garmu (see yesterday’s post) the Avtinas family refused to teach how to make the incense out of fear that when the Temple would be destroyed, other people might make the mixture to serve idolatry.

The Avtinas family’s memory is a blessing: on account that their women would never wear perfume, so people should not suspect that they were taking the Temple’s incense for their personal use. Further, anyone who married into the family, had to agree not to use perfume.

Yoma Chapter 3


7 June in History

For the first time, Jews were ordered to wear distinctive clothing was mandated in Spain (1233). The following year Pope Gregory IX developed guidelines for this, sent in the form of a letter to the King of Navarra: “Since we desire that Jews be recognizable and distinguished from Christians, we order you to impose upon each and every Jew of both sexes a sign, one round patch of yellow cloth of linen to be worn on the uppermost garment.”

In 1936, then 25 year old John F. Kennedy arrived in Jerusalem during a visit to the Middle East

25 Sivan in History

Among the millions of Jews cruelly killed by the Romans in the 2nd Century, BCE, were the “Ten Martyrs”–all great sages and leaders of Israel–memorialized in a special prayer recited on Yom Kippur. Three of them–Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha and Rabbi Chanina S’gan Hakohanim–were killed on Sivan 25.

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May 2020