Rebbe Hiyya the Great: Master of Outreach

During the height of Roman occupation and persecution of Jews in the Land of Israel, Torah was in danger of being forgotten, for the Romans outlawed Torah learning. Poverty and deprivation prevailed among our people. Rebbe Hiyya the Great, at this most difficult time, took his wife Yehudit, his two twin sons Yehuda and Chizkiya, his two daughters and his two nephews Rav and Raba bar Bar Chana and made aliya to the Land of Israel. When he saw the terrible material and spiritual deprivation, he planted flax seeds. When he harvested the flax, he made nets to capture wild deer. He used the venison meat to feed starving orphans and used the deer hides to make parchment. On the parchment, he wrote the Five Books of Moses, which he taught to the orphans,  making a single-handed revival of Torah.

No wonder that Rebbe Hiyya's two sons and two nephews became prodigious Torah scholars and righteous men of the highest caliber.

Rabbi Lazer relates the story of Rebbe Hiyya the Great from his holy gravesite in Tiberias, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. 

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