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March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
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The Great Civil War


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“Let the king revenge himself upon these people who have defamed your name and the name of the royal house. Let the people see that Yannai is not a mere peasant with whom sport can be made.”

“What do you propose that I do?” asked Yannai.

“I say that you must kill the wise men, the Chachamim of Israel, and teach the people a lesson.”

“But if I do so,” objected the king, “who will teach the people Torah?”

The wily man replied:

“Is the Torah hidden in a special corner? Let anyone who wishes to learn come and learn and interpret it for himself.”

The words of Elazar found favor in the king’s eyes and he decided to do as he had suggested. He sent forth an order throughout the land that all the Chachamim should be hounded and killed.

Thus began terrible days for all lovers of Hashem and by the thousands their bodies were strewn throughout the land.

Shimon Ben Shetach Saved

When the queen, Shelomith Alexandra, saw what was happening, she feared greatly for the life of her brother, the greatest scholar of them all, Shimon Ben Shetach. She ordered him brought to her in secret and hid him in a secure place, saying,

“When the king’s wrath has calmed, I will bring out my brother.”

Thus began one of the blackest periods in Jewish history.

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“I wanted you to have a taste of the cold,” answered Rav Chaim. “This way, you too can feel the intense cold and realize the suffering of this man and his wife, who are now residing in a bitterly cold house.”

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“Don’t worry,” said the king, “what could it be worth, two or three talents of gold? I’ll give you ten talents of gold, so you can forget about it.”

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Shmuel HaKatan shook his head and said: “No, what happened here today is a sign not of great love. On the contrary, it is a bad omen.”

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The arguments, however, could never appease his wife and one Thursday she came to him for money to purchase food for Shabbos.

He walked out of the room, making sure to leave the door ajar so that the two litigants could hear his voice.

Don’t you know Avraham, the famous dry goods merchant, who lives near the lake in a big mansion?

“What could I do? Your wife is hard of hearing,” whispered the poor woman barely able to talk.

“I would appreciate if you could give me some pointers on how to improve my wine,” said the wine merchant eagerly.

“And what was your grandfather’s name?” asked the visitor. “The same as my name,” replied the child.

The trial was the next day and he hadn’t as yet told the family what he would do.

It’s a special one. Some sort of family heirloom.

The man was overjoyed to see his benefactor and gave them food and water besides shelter and safety.

Because of this I wandered about and found friends in similar situations who were also unhappy and I began to hang out with them.

Time passed and Zemira gave birth to a son but not even this could awaken Avinadav from his melancholy.

Yonadav was greatly impressed at the vast sums of money the young man had in his possessions.

“I do nothing worthwhile,” he modestly replied and refused to discuss any of his deeds. For the man was a very modest and humble person.

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Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“I wanted you to have a taste of the cold,” answered Rav Chaim. “This way, you too can feel the intense cold and realize the suffering of this man and his wife, who are now residing in a bitterly cold house.”

Gaonim-Midrash-logo-NEW

“Don’t worry,” said the king, “what could it be worth, two or three talents of gold? I’ll give you ten talents of gold, so you can forget about it.”

Shmuel HaKatan shook his head and said: “No, what happened here today is a sign not of great love. On the contrary, it is a bad omen.”

The arguments, however, could never appease his wife and one Thursday she came to him for money to purchase food for Shabbos.

He walked out of the room, making sure to leave the door ajar so that the two litigants could hear his voice.

Don’t you know Avraham, the famous dry goods merchant, who lives near the lake in a big mansion?

“What could I do? Your wife is hard of hearing,” whispered the poor woman barely able to talk.

“I would appreciate if you could give me some pointers on how to improve my wine,” said the wine merchant eagerly.

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