c 163 BCE- Two years after the miracle of Chanukah, Syrian King Antiochus V granted religious freedom and political autonomy to the Jews of Eretz Yisroel . This reversed an earlier decree of his father, King Antiochus IV, prohibiting Torah study, Shabbat observance and circumcision. The decree was revoked through the efforts of Rab' Yehudah ben Shamua and his colleagues who beseeched the authorities night after night until the decree was cancelled. This date was celebrated for many centuries as a Yom Tov as cited in Megillat Taanit, Rosh Hashanah 19a.


1277- The Jews of Prussia were granted rights, which eased their plight somewhat.


1303- The Jews of Weissensee, Germany, were massacred.


March 12, 1496-The Jews were expelled from Burgsdorf, Switzerland.


1524-The wicked ruler of Egypt, Achmed Pacha, decreed the extermination of the entire Jewish community, but miracu­lously, he was killed. In commemoration of the great miracle, this day was observed annually as "Purim of Cairo."

Ahmed Pasha was the governor of Egypt under Selim II "The Magnificent," the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Ahmed, upset with being rejected as Grand Vizier, plotted to cede from the Ottoman Empire and declare himself Grand Vizier of Egypt. He requested of his Jewish minister Abraham de Castro to mint new Egyptian currency stamped with his image and title of Grand Vizier on the coins. Instead, De Castro went to Constantinople, and informed Selim II of Ahmed's plot.

When de Castro fled, Ahmed decided to exact revenge against Cairo's Jewish community. He imprisoned many of their leaders, and threatened to execute them unless he was paid an outrageously large ransom. The Jews of Cairo fasted and prayed to Hashem. A large sum of money was collected but it did not approach the amount of money Ahmed demanded. Before the planned executions, Ahmed visited his bathhouse. As he was leaving the bathhouse he was attacked and severely wounded by a group of his own advisors and governors. Ahmed escaped but was later captured and beheaded. From then on, the Jews of Cairo observed the 28th of Adar as a day of celebration "Purim of Cairo." A special megillah (scroll) written to commemorate the miracle was read in Cairo every year on this day.


March 4, 1791-In Hegenbein, Alsace, a Catholic woman was instructed to do penance for helping a Jew observe the Sabbath. Her punishment was for kindling a fire for a Jewish neighbor on the Sabbath.


Torah Portion




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Today is

Yom Rivi'i, 14 Iyar, 5784 - Pesach Sheini

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


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