February 9, 2014

[7 Tevet]

  • Three leaders of Babylonian Jewry were arrested by Persian officials, 468, sparking a wave of persecution of the Jews of Babylonia.
  • Supposed liberties granted Russian Jews by the Czar in 1804, actually spelled economic ruin for much of the Jewish community.
  • The Prussian government decreed that Jewish services must be conducted in strict adherence to Jewish Tradition, 1823. The decree was “solicited” by the Traditional Jewish community in order to fight against the new Reform movement. Ultimately, however, we suffer much more harm from governmental intervention than good.

[8 Tevet]

  • First translation of the Torah into a foreign language (Greek). Considered a tragic event; ancient fast day.
  • Eichmann sentenced to death, 1961.

[9 Tevet]

  • Yahrzeit of Ezra Hasofer and Nechemia. Ancient fast day.
  • Yahrzeit of Rabbi Ezra HaNavi, Tosafist, Kabbalist, Teacher of theRamban, 1227.

[10 Tevet]

  • Asara B’Tevet, one of the four commemorative fasts mentioned byZecharia HaNavi.
  • Beginning of the siege around Jerusalem, 588 b.c.e.
  • Yirmiyahu bought a field and prophesied that we will once again buy homes and land in Eretz Yisrael, 587 b.c.e.
  • Yahrzeits of Zecharia and Malachi.
  • King Herod captured Jerusalem,37 b.c.e.
  • 3,000 Jews killed in Bucharest riots, 1941.
  • Memorial day for the six million Jews killed by the Nazis.

[11 Tevet]

  • 100,000 Jews of Sicily expelled, 1492.

[12 Tevet]

  • Yechezkial prophesied the downfall of Egypt and the triumph of Bavel, 587 b.c.e.
  • A violent earthquake rocked Eretz Yisrael seriously damaging the walls of Jerusalem and Tower of David, 1033.
  • Another Mordechai and Esther (of Medzibezh) saved the Jews from Chmielnicki’s army, 1648.

[13 Tevet]

  • First issue of the Hebrew printing press of Amsterdam (the Siddur), 1627.
  • Rumanian Jews were excluded from the medical profession, 1868.

[14 Tevet]

  • Jews of Laibach, Austria expelled, 1515.
  • Window Purim. celebrated by the S’fardic community of Hebron.
  • Population of Israel reached three million, 1971.

[15 Tevet]

  • First printed edition of Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, Soncino, Italy, 1488. [Day-by-Day includes many similar items for various dates. The early printing of Judaica is noteworthy for its significance in the transmission of Torah throughout the generations. Imagine how many more Jews had access to Jewish books since the advent of printing. Especially in contrast to the commemoration of the tragic event of the translation of the Torah into Greek on 8 Tevet, these “anniversaries” of the “healthy spread of Torah” are all the more special.]

[16 Tevet]

  • Emperor Joseph II of Austria issued an Edict of Toleration in 1782 which repealed most restrictions on Jews that had been imposed by the Church. [Nice? No! The intention of the edict was not the emancipation of the Jews but their assimilation. Similarly, Napoleon’s efforts had similar motives. On the other hand, the emancipation of the Jews in England and Holland beginning in the 17th century, stemmed from liberal policies rather than anti-Jewish prejudices and hopes of assimilating and converting Jews. Ironically, the former type of motivation was often successfully fought by Jews who saw what was behind the easing of restrictions against Jews. The latter type of removal of restrictions often led to an increase of assimilation.]

[17 Tevet]

  • The organization of the Jewish community of Rome was approved by the pope, 1524.
  • Frederick William of Brandenburg issued a decree safeguarding the privileges of the Jews of Berlin, 1676. [Thank you, I guess, but we must realize that outside of Eretz Yisrael – and inside, for that matter, when Israel is under foreign rule – the “state of Jewish Life” was very often subject to the whim, mood, caprice or plan of rulers who didi not often have our best interests in mind.]
  • The yahrzeit of the Dubno Maggid, 1804.

[18 Tevet]

  • Rabbi Huna Mori bar Mar Zutra, the head of Babylonian Jewry, and Mesharshya b. Pekuda were executed in Pumpedita, 468 c.e.
  • Two ships with “illegal” immigrants were taken by the British to Cyprus, 1947.
  • Two years later – to the day – the British announced their intention to release the Cyprus internees.

[19 Tevet]

  • The Catholic Church in Recife, Brazil closed the two shuls then in existence there, 1638.

[20 Tevet]

  • 795th yahrzeit of the Rambam (1204). On his 279th yahrzeit in 1483, the first printed edition of Gemara Brachot was published in Soncino, Italy. It contained Rambam’s commentary on Mishna.
  • The Jewish community of Ancona, Italy miraculously escaped unharmed from an earthquake, 1690. They declared a fast day in commemoration.
  • The Nazis prohibited Jews from congregating in shuls and private homes for prayer, 1940. So too, did they forbid Jews from changing residences – this, a precursor of the ghettos.

[21 Tevet]

  • Birthday of Shimon, son of Yaakov Avinu.
  • Purim Ancona, followed the fast day mentioned above, for the 20 Tevet.

[22 Tevet]

  • Anti-Jewish riots in Ancona, Italy, 1798 (day after the “local” Purim which had been celebrated since 1691).
  • Roman mobs attempted to set fire to the ghetto and to sack it, 1798 (Why should Anconians be the only ones to attack Jews?)

[23 Tevet]

  • A fire which started in the home of the rabbi of Frankfort-on-the-Main nearly destroyed the whole Jewish ghetto, 1711.
  • Yahrzeit of Nathan Straus, for whom the city of Netanya and theIsrael Center’s street are both named, 1931.

[24 Tevet]

  • Purim of Sherif celebrated by the Jews of Tripoli, from 1745.
  • Yahrzeit of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady, the Baal HaTanya, founder of Chabad, 1812.

[25 Tevet]

  • Anti-Jewish riots in different parts of Austria, 1312.
  • First critical edition of Chovot HaLevavot published in Italy, 1559. (Next time you buy a sefer, such as Chovot HaLevavot, or anything older, realize that Jews have been buying them for about 500 years – but not more than that, in print, that is.)

[26 Tevet]

  • Jews of Sicily required to wear a special badge, 1369. (Once again, note how non-original the Nazis were. Also note that Christians did to Jews what had been done to them many years before.)

[27 Tevet]

  • Yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, 1888. [Rabbi Bloch z”l includes an anecdote in this entry, something he hardly ever does. SRH was paid a salary by his community for three months at a time, in advance. He instructed his family that they were to return a prorated amount to the community for the remainder of the three month period during which he would die. His family was spared the effort, however, for he died precisely at the end of the three-month period.]

[28 Tevet]

  • R. Shimon b. Shetach ridded the Sanhedrin of its Tzadoki members. The day was subsequently celebrated as a holiday.
  • Jews of Switzerland were granted civic equality, 1866, upon pressure exerted by the United States which had interceded on behalf of American Jewish citizens.

[29 Tevet]

  • Earliest authorization for the establishment of a university, including medical and law studies, under Jewish auspices granted, Sicily, 1466. (It never happened because the Jews of Sicily were expelled some years later.)
  • Recife, Brazil conquered by Portugal, ending the legal existence of the prosperous Jewish community there, 1654.
  • Purim of Tripoli, celebrating the downfall of the Burgel Pasha, 1793.