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March 28, 2015 / 8 Nisan, 5775
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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.

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The man has been found guilty and his soul is bitter because of it.

But the words would penetrate their hearts and each would say to himself: “But I, too, am doing this terrible thing.” In this way Reb Elimelech would inspire the people to teshuvah.

“I will tell you,” replied the rav. “I am very puzzled at why you suddenly desire to honor me and have me as your guest. What quality do you find in me that is new and worthy of merit?

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

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