Thanks again for letting me share my mother’s story.
And thanks to all that took the time to tell me that they were inspired.
Especially those that said kind things about me.
My Mom would actually believe it!
… This Monday night and Tuesday is the ninth day of the Jewish month Av.
The saddest day on the Jewish calendar. Tisha b’av.
Many tragedies in our history happened on that day.
It’s the one day that we focus on Jewish suffering.
And try to feel the pain of Jews throughout history.
… But Tisha b’av can also be a day to be inspired.
By the miracle of Jewish survival.
… Spain 1492.
For centuries Spain was the center of Jewish life.
There was economic success. Torah scholarship. And social acceptance.
But it happens very often in Jewish history.
Things changed terribly.
There were forced conversions. The Inquisition.
And then a decree issued by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
Renounce Judaism. Convert. Or leave Spain.
The deadline was August 2, 1492.
On the Jewish calendar?
The ninth of Av. Tisha b’av.
Three hundred thousand Jews decide to leave. They give up everything.
And go out to sea.
And many thousands die.
If you stop the clock at this point?
Looks like its all over.
There’s no future for the Jewish People!
… On one of the ships leaving Spain there was a four-year-old boy.
His name? Yosef Karo.
Little Yosef survives. And becomes one of the greatest Jewish scholars of all time.
His contribution to Jewish life is unparalleled.
In fact, he’s one of the reasons that there’s still a Jewish people.
Because throughout our history, what has kept Jewish identity alive?
Jewish practice and ritual.
Things like Shabbat. Lighting candles. Kiddush over wine.
The Passover Seder. Kosher homes.
And for the last five hundred years, if you wanted to know how to do it right?
There was one place to look.
It’s called the Shulchan Aruch. The code of Jewish Law.
Rabbi Yosef Karo!
All the best,