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When it was ordained for Haman to be hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordechai, eleven species of trees, all of which are compared to Klal Yisrael in Scripture, volunteered to be the one to do away with this terrible foe. In honor of Tu B’Shvat, we examine the links between five of those species — those that are among the shivas haminim — and Klal Yisrael, and how they were used in the Beis HaMikdash.
The Haskalah movement has the dubious distinction of being the first effort in history to succeed on a large scale in severing Jews from their heritage. How did the Haskalah, more than so many attempts before it, achieve such horrific success? They answer to this question lies in the historical background of the Haskalah movement.
The 9th of Shevat marks the yahrtzeit of Rabbeinu Nissim of Gerona (the Ran), author of a seminal halachic commentary on Rabbeinu Alfasi, and of chiddushim on much of the Talmud. In the early twentieth century, more than 600 years after his passing in 5136/1376, an ancient sefer Torah was discovered, purported to be the handiwork of the Ran. Scholars pointed to it as a source of important halachic information, but suspicions arose that it might be a forgery. A recent discovery supports their contention.