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1. In the time of Yehudah ben Shamu'a, the Romans made a decree that severely limited Jewish religious practice.
2. The Jews were miraculously saved from this decree on the 28th of Adar.
3. The Gemara discusses another happy day that occurred during the time of the Maccabees.
4. Even though we wait for some time before fasting when the rains have not come, if the crops are not growing normally, fasts are instituted immediately.
5. The Mishnah explains that even if it rains but not in a useful manner for a certain crop, that is reason to declare a fast.
A BIT MORE
1. The government officially decreed that Jews may not learn Torah, circumcise their sons, and observe Shabbos.
2. This occurred after they held a public demonstration at night appealing to the Romans not to persecute them.
3. There was a Greek general named Nikanor who was constantly threatening to destroy Yerushalayim. He was finally defeated in battle and denigrated by having his amputated fingers and toes hung by the gate of Yerushalayim, showing that someone who talks about destroying Yerushalayim will himself be destroyed.
4. For example, if the wheat or barley crops are disfigured and therefore not useful, or they are coming up as thorns instead of wheat, a fast is decreed immediately.
5. For example, if the rain was enough for the grain to grow but not enough for the fruit trees to grow, or if it rained enough for crops but there is still not enough to provide drinking water for the city, fasts are decreed.
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