1240- All copies of the Talmud were confiscated from the Jews of France, leading to a sharp decline of rabbinical scholarship.


1481- The Spanish Inquisition initiated the auto-da-fe (burning at the stake). The Inquisition was created in the twelfth century to find "Christian heretics" who would be punished or killed. Eventually, Jews too were open to such charges of heresy, simply for being Jewish; and torture was routinely used to extract "confessions." Over the years, the inquisition, which operated with Papal consent, spread to many countries. In 1481 the Inquisition began to function in Spain to expose the secret Jews, known as the Anusim or Marranos. This Inquisition was anti-Jewish more than in any previous countries. The first public sentencing and burning alive of six marrano men and one woman by the Spanish Inquisition was held on this date in Seville in Southern Spain. Following the start of the Spanish Inquisition many Jews fled Spain.


1486- Inquisition forces burned 1,000 Jews at the stake.


February 27, 1624- Numerous Jews were killed in the city of Lonshitz. The Rav of the city, HaRav Shlomo Chaverl, composed a special kinah commemorating the tragic event.


February 27, 1670- Jews were expelled from Austria by an order signed by Leopold I.


Feb. 24, 1942- The Struma with its 769 passengers was torpedoed off the coast of Turkey. A torpedo, apparently fired accidentally by a Soviet submarine, sank the Struma, a cattle boat on which 769 Romanian Jews attempted to flee to Eretz Yisrael during WWII.

The ship was very overcrowded and lacked the basic neccessities; even its engine barely worked. The trip's organizers misled the passengers, and upon reaching Istanbul, they discovered that they did not have the visas they had been promised that would permit them to enter Eretz Yisrael. The Turkish government first quarantined the ship and its passengers, and later forced it into open water, which led to its sinking. Only one passenger, David Stoliar, survived and eventually reached Palestine. Among the dead were 103 children.


Torah Portion




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Today is

Yom Sh'lishi, 15 Kislev, 5784

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


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