05 May 2015

2,000 Years Later...

16 Iyyar 5775
Day 31 of the Omer

Many people wonder why, after 2000 years, we are still required to mourn the deaths of Rabbi Akiva's students who died from a 'plague' during Sefirat Ha'omer.
The Gemora in the tractate of Yevamos 62b, tells us that "Rabbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of students...and all of them died in one period of time because they did not conduct themselves with respect towards one another...they all died between Pesach and Shavuos...and they all died a terrible death. What was it? R' Nachman said "As'kerah" (a death from suffocating, from a croup-like illness). "
The Aruch HaShulchan says that "these days between Pesach and Shavu'os are established by all of Israel as days of judgement and mourning, because in this short period of time, the students of Rabbi Akiva died. Furthermore, in the past, we have seen that the main fulfillment of decrees against us in Germany and France took place during this time period, and ..." therefore, the Aruch HaShulchan says, we have the custom to maintain certain practices associated with mourning. (Source)
You see, we are still suffering from this 'ailment' today. It's not just the Ethiopian Jews who are hated. 'Russians' are hated. Hareidim are hated. 'Settlers' are hated. Converts are hated. It seems there is hatred for everyone, but our enemies whom we are supposed to hate.

As long as this situation exists, there is still reason to mourn. May the day soon arrive when the Erev Rav and Amalek among us are purged and their hatred along with them!


  1. A Chareidi Israeli Ethiopian on the Violence Protest in Tel Aviv

    “No one wants us; not Ashkenazim or Sephardim. I call on rabbonim to open the door so our children too may study Torah. Each one of our youth that has been permitted to learn has become an illui”.

    He goes on to explain that being permitted to enter a yeshiva is what saved him. “With the exception of Rav Ovadia who supported us who do we have” he concluded.


    - a voice in the wilderness

  2. Kol haKavod to you and all Ethiopians who fight ... To become Torah scholars. It is your only way. Satmar in Monroe tries to turn Yemenites into Torah followers, but they are deprived of their heritage. At least the Ethiopians in Israel can learn and also keep their minhagim.

  3. you forgot to mention baalei teshuvah and men