356 BCE-  The miracle of Purim took place. The festival of Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from Haman's plot "to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day."

 

We read the Megillah (Scroll of Esther), dress up in costumes, and celebrate how the Jews of Persia narrowly escaped annihilation, thanks to the bravery of Esther and Mordechai. In Shushan, the Persian capital, however, the battle lasted one additional day and Purim was not celebrated until the 15th of Adar. Thus today in Yerushalayim, Purim is celebrated one day later than the rest of the world. (During Jewish leap years we celebrate Purim in the second month of Adar.)

 

161 BCE- Nikonor Day, in which Antiochus Epiphanes's general Nikonor, leading the elephant infantry against the Jews, was defeated and killed on this day. See 13 Adar.

 

March 18, 1191- In Bray, France, eighty Jews were burned to death for trying to execute a non-Jew who had killed a Jew. After securing permission from a local lord, they marched him in a procession and tried to hang the accused on Purim which fell three weeks before Easter.

 

February 14, 1349- Jews of Uberlingen, Switzerland were massacred.

 

February 14, 1349- After having been falsely accused of poisoning the wells, the Jews of Strasbourg, Alsace were condemned to death, collectively. In a huge pyre, 2,000 men, women and children were burned alive.

 

1451- The Pope banned all social contact between Jews and Christians out of fear that Christians would be attracted to Judaism. A Christian who converted to Judaism and the Jews who helped him were usually subject to the death penalty in most Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries.

 

March 7, 1822- Turkish soldiers killed 60 Jews in Bucharest.

 

March 4, 1855- Czar Nicholas I of Russia died. He had passed the Cantonist decree forcibly conscripting Jewish children for his army, with the intended goal to baptize them. Over 70,000 Jews were forced to serve in his army
over the period of the 30-year decree (1827-1857), many of them taken as children of 8 or 9.

 

March 15, 1900- A blood libel began after the death of a student in Konitz, Prussia. A Jew named Wolf Israelski was arrested, while Count Plucker promoted riots against the Jews. After Israelski was proven innocent, two other
Jews, Moritz Lewy and Rosenthal, were arrested on the same charge. Rosenthal and Lewy were subsequently acquitted. All the evidence was based on the testimony of a petty thief, Masloff, who later received only one year for perjury.

 

March 24, 1921- The Chief Rabbinate of Palestine was founded. Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld declared a fast day.

 

March 5, 1939- Germany violated the Munich Agreement and marched into Prague.

 

March 3, 1942- In the town of Zdunska Wola in Nazi-occupied Poland, 10 Jews were hanged by Hitler's SS, in a sadistic parody of events in the Book of Esther. To add to this debacle, the Gestapo ordered all Jews out of their homes in order to witness the hangings.

 

March 21, 1943- A 'Purim massacre' occured in the Polish town of Piotrkow, where 10 Jews were executed.

As you can see, Hitler harbored a venomous hatred for the holiday of Purim: When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, he banned the reading of the Book of Esther, an ordered that all synagogues be closed and barred on Purim day. "Unless Germany is victorious," he proclaimed, "Jewry could then celebrate the destruction of Europe by a second triumphant Purim Festival." Incredibly, when Nazi officer Julius Streicher ascended the gallows to be hanged at Nuremberg, he shouted, "Purimfest 1946."

 

Feb 28, 1991- The Iraq attack against Eretz Yisroel during the Gulf War came to an end, after dozens of SCUDs fell in densely populated areas over a period of months. Miraculously, only one person died during at least 39 SCUD attacks into many densely populated areas which resulted in hundreds of homes destroyed.

 

Torah Portion

תצוּה (Tetzaveh)

 

 

or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Rishon, 3 Adar, 5778

Sunday, February 18, 2018

 

Learn more about this date in history.