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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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The Beginning Of Anti-Semitism


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Pharaoh’s servants did as they were told and placed the staff in the treasures of the king. One day, however, Yisro, the priest of Midian, who was one of Pharaoh’s advisors, was walking about the palace and saw this magnificent staff.

Yisro Takes The Staff

He, too, was fascinated by the beauty of the staff, and seeing that it was momentarily unguarded, he took it for himself.

Bringing it home, he placed it in the middle of his garden. From that day on, no man could approach the stick, and anyone who tried was swallowed alive. There the staff remained until Moses came and took it.

The Beginning Of The End

With the death of Yosef and the passing of all his brothers and their generation, the Jews began to throw off the yoke of G-d as they grew fatter and richer.

“Let us go in the way of the people of the land,” they said. “Why should we be different? Let us refrain from circumcising our children in order that we be similar to them and more acceptable in their eyes.”

So speaking, they began their march to assimilation. But the Almighty saw this and grew angry.

“Because the Children of Israel have abrogated my treaty,” He said, “I will do away with the love and the friendship of the Mitzriyim toward them.”

The Mitzriyim Turn On The Jews

And so it happened. As the Jews mingled more and more with the Mitzriyim, they eagerly learned their ways and their customs. They filled the circuses, the theaters and all the arts until they outnumbered the Mitzriyim.

Slowly, the Mitzriyim’s love turned to hate as they saw the strong competition coming from Bnei Yisrael. Going to Pharaoh they cried to him:

“We are becoming choked by the presence of these Hebrews, these strangers in our midst. Do something for us, Pharaoh.”

Hearing this, Pharaoh ordered the Jewish leaders to come to him and he said:

“I hereby order you to cease competing with and annoying my people. Keep yourselves away from them and do not enter their areas.”

From that day on the Jews were doomed in the land of Mitzrayim. The Mitzriyim began to embitter their lives; they confiscated their fields and the vineyards they had worked so long to obtain. The handwriting was on the wall.

Thus were the Jews punished for breaking their covenant with the Almighty.

How Often

How often has this story been repeated in Jewish history! How seldom have Jews learned that they cannot assimilate and throw away their heritage! How much it has cost us in blood and lives to learn our lesson!

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“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

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With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

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.

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