In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.
Although Daniel was the chief minister in Bavel, he could not eradicate the custom practiced in many provinces of worshipping idols. In the capital city there was a statue of Baal and more and more people began to worship it. Even the king was beginning to believe in its power.
Through the inﬂuence of Daniel, one of Nevuchadnezar’s ministers, his three companions, Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah were appointed as governors over various provinces in Bavel.
In the third year of the reign of Yehoyakim, melech Yehuda, Nevuchadnezzar, melech Bavel, lay siege to Yerushalayim and conquered it. He took many treasures from the Beis HaMikdash back with him to the land of Shinar.
In the city of Antioch there lived a man of remarkable generosity by the name of Aba Yehudah. He was a man who gave to all, whenever there was a need. Rabi Yehoshua and several other rabbanim arrived in the city one day on an urgent mission to collect money for the unfortunate needy. They knew that Aba Yehudah always gave a generous contribution so they looked forward to seeing him.
Rav Nechuniah was a modest and exceedingly honest person who did good and kind things at every opportunity, without seeking rewards and honor for those deeds.
Chazal tell the story of a very rich man, who as he grew old began to worry about his future. "What good is all my wealth?" he asked, "if I may soon have to leave it behind me."
The great Shlomo HaMelech, wisest of all men, wrote that there is a time for all things. There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to preserve and a time to throw away.
If you were to ask the average Jew who destroyed the Bais HaMikdash and who sent the Jewish people into galus, he would instantly answer, “The Romans.”
Rabi Yochanan said: “What is the meaning of the sentence in scriptures, ‘He does wonders that are immeasurable and miracles that are incomprehensible’? This refers to the miracle of the birth of a child.”
In the days of Shlomo HaMelech, the richest man in the land lived in Yerushalayim. His name was Bavsi and he was known as a wicked miser. He oppressed his servants and his slaves and made their days bitter with toil from dawn until late at night. Because he was so stingy, he did not give them enough food to eat, so they and their children constantly suffered from pangs of hunger.
One of the areas in which even observant Jews sin is in their attitude towards rabbanim. A rav is not just someone whom we have the right to hire and fire; he is not just a man who gives a speech on Shabbos. He is a teacher and a leader. When he rules on a point of halacha, it is not only our right to listen to him; it is our obligation to do so.
The life of our sages was never an easy one. Although persecuted by the Romans, they continued to devote all their efforts to the study of Torah and doing good deeds.
Czar Nicholas was a rabid anti-Semite and constantly sought means and methods to convert the Jews to Christianity. But the harsher the decrees he issued against the Jews, the more tenaciously they adhered to the tenets of their forefathers.
Those who learn the Talmud are forever indebted to a commentary found on the side of the pages which enables the student to find the source of a particular law. This commentary, known as Mesoras HaShas, is the work of one of the most brilliant and erudite Talmudic scholars, Rav Yosef Shmuel of Cracow.
Chazal posed the following questions to Eliyahu HaNavi: “Why are some of our pious people so poverty stricken? Doesn’t G-d answer the prayers of tzadikim?”
Herod or Hordos — as he is known in the Talmud — was a usurper who seized the throne of the Chashmonaim and caused a terrible tragedy to befall the Jewish people.
One day, the great sage Choni HaMagel pondered the meaning of Tehillim 26, “A song of ascent, when Hashem returned the captives of Tzyon, we were like them in that dream.”
If you were to ask the average Jew who destroyed the Beis Hamikdash and who sent Klal Yisrael into galus (exile), he would instantly answer, “The Romans.”
Never mistreat a person, no matter how lowly he may be, for you can never know what the future holds in store for him, our sages warn us. As an example, the following story is told in the Talmud Yerushalmi.