Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

Taanis 22: Protected from the Wolves

On this daf, we find some halachos showing the great danger of wolves.

Our sages say that the greatest testimony to Hashem’s greatness is our continued survival among the nations. The Alter of Kelm explained: “Think about it. When the first Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed, there were around twenty thousand Jews left alive. Surely, millions were killed. Yet, somehow we survived. What stopped Nevuchadnetzar from killing us all? What would we have done when Haman instigated a decree to kill us all, men women and children, if Hashem hadn’t made Esther queen? And why didn’t Titus wipe us out during the second churban?

“Throughout history, we have always been persecuted. How many decrees of devastation and ruin have we endured? The Crusades, the Inquisition, the many times we were exiled from every region in Europe. The pogroms of Tach v’Tat. And our enemies worked so hard to turn the heart of monarchs who were kindly disposed toward us against us.

“Any thinking person who considers our times will be astounded. There is so much anti-Semitism. They howl like wolves looking for prey in the night. We are assaulted at all times; our enemies are everywhere. Yet we somehow survive and will always survive.

“It is no wonder that Rav Yaakov Emden writes that our survival among nations who hated us is the greatest proof that Hashem is watching over us. How many nations were numerous and great yet are gone? It is only due to Hashem’s protection that we remain” (Bais Kelm, Emunah, p. 210-211).

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