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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777
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The Return Of Shimon ben Shetach

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The first day that Rabi Shimon sat in court a man was brought in for judgment. The Sadducees found him guilty. Rabi Shimon then arose and demanded they bring proof of their verdict from the Torah, “For what will the people say if they are told that you do not seek reference from our holy Torah?” he said.

The leader of the Sadducees replied, “Give me one day’s time and I will find the reference of our judgment from the Torah.”

The Sadducee went home and poured through all the books of the Torah but, alas, he couldn’t find anywhere any references to the court case. The following morning he felt ashamed to return to the courthouse, so he left the city.

In the morning, when the Sanhedrin opened court, the elderly Sadducee was missing.

Rabi Shimon ben Shetach arose and said, “I am sorry but we cannot open the Sanhedrin’s session today unless we have the full complement of the Sanhedrin present, which is 71 members. I will therefore have to appoint another member to fill the place of the departed member.”

The New Holiday In Israel

The following day a similar incident occurred. Again Rabi Shimon demanded that proof should be presented from the Torah. When the Sadducee requested time to look it up, it was granted to him and when he couldn’t find it, he too, felt ashamed and didn’t return. Soon Rabi Shimon was able to replace the entire Sanhedrin with the sages of old.

It was on the 28th day of Teves that the last Sadducee resigned from the Sanhedrin and all the leaders and sages of Israel made it into a holiday that they celebrated every year.

Rabbi Sholom Klass

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