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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Rabbi Abraham of Kalisk (1741-1810) was a controversial figure in the 3rd generation of Chassidic leaders. In his youth, he was a study partner of Rabbi Elijah "the Gaon of Vilna", who led the initial opposition against Chassidism; but later Rabbi Abraham himself joined the the forbidden kat ("sect", as the Chassidic movement was derisively called by its opponents) and became a disciple of Rabbi DovBer, the Maggid of Mezeritch, the successor to Chassidism's founder, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. After Rabbi DovBer's passing in 1772, much of the opposition to Chassidism was directed against Rabbi Abraham's disciples, who, more than any other group within the movement, mocked the intellectual elitism of the establishment's scholars and communal leaders; even Rabbi Abraham's own colleagues were dismayed by the "antics" of some of his disciples. In 1777, Rabbi Abraham joined the first Chassidic "aliyah", in which a group of more than 300 Chassidim led by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk emigrated to the Holy Land. Rabbi Abraham passed away in Tiberias on the 4th of Shevat of the year 5570 from creation (1810 CE).

Rabbi Israel Abuchatzera (1890-1984), known as "Baba Sali," was born in Tafillalt, Morocco to the llustrious Abuchatzera family. From a young age he was renowned as a sage, miracle maker and master kabbalist. In 1964 he moved to the Holy Land, eventually settling in the southern development town he made famous, Netivot. He passed away in 1984 on the 4th of Shevat. His graveside in Netivot has become a holy site visited by thousands annually.

Daily Thought

The entire cosmos, the ancients explained, climbs ever upward.

The elements move upward to grow as living flora.

Flora rise upward, consumed by creatures that swim, run, fly, love and fear.

Those mobile, loving and fearing fauna may too be elevated into the realm of a conscious being that acts with enlightened mindfulness—a human being.

And this human being, to where can it rise?

To the ultimate fulfillment of intellect and yet higher, to a place that existed before Mind was born, a place without constriction or borders.

And where is that place?

It is the act of doing good for the sake of good alone.

Igrot Kodesh, vol. 7, p. 376; ibid., vol. 11, p. 421. Night of Simchat Torah 5723:6.