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Gittin 58 – In the aftermath of destruction

After the destruction of Betar, they recovered the teffillin worn by people slain there, and the total volume of these tefillin was forty boxes, each box being the size of a small mikveh, that is, about 25 cubic feet.

Jewish boys captured by the Romans were exceedingly beautiful. Initially, Roman used to look at a signet ring with images made of best gold when engaging in conjugal relations. Now they started using Jewish boys by tyeing them to the beds and looking at them at this time. One of the boys asked another “Where is this punishment written in the Torah?” The other replied, “Even blows that are not written in this Torah scroll will God bring on you.” The boy accepted the answer, but continued, “How far was I from this place in my studies?” - “A column and a half.” The boy concluded, “Had I come to this place myself, I would have understood it without you.”

In these times, many oppressors would seize land from the Jews. If later, when law became more enforceable, another Jew wanted to buy land back from the oppressors, this was praiseworthy, because then more of the Land of Israel would be in Jewish hands. However, he needed to consider that this land previously belonged

to a fellow Jew and was taken away from him. Therefore, he had to formally acquire it from this Jew first, and then redeem it from the oppressor. If he first redeemed it from the oppressor, and then from the Jew, it did not count, because of potential intimidation of that Jew by the oppressor.

Art: The Praying Jew by Marc Chagall
Tags: gittin
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