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Friday, December 15, 2017

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Calendar for: Chabad of Westborough 54 South Street, Westborough, MA 01581   |   Contact Info
Chanukah Day 3
Halachic Times (Zmanim)
Times for Westborough, MA 01581
5:33 AM
Dawn (Alot Hashachar):
6:12 AM
Earliest Tallit and Tefillin (Misheyakir):
7:09 AM
Sunrise (Hanetz Hachamah):
9:22 AM
Latest Shema:
10:09 AM
Latest Shacharit:
11:41 AM
Midday (Chatzot Hayom):
12:05 PM
Earliest Mincha (Mincha Gedolah):
2:24 PM
Mincha Ketanah (“Small Mincha”):
3:22 PM
Plag Hamincha (“Half of Mincha”):
3:57 PM
Candle Lighting:
4:15 PM
Sunset (Shkiah):
4:47 PM
Nightfall (Tzeit Hakochavim):
11:42 PM
Midnight (Chatzot HaLailah):
46:19 min.
Shaah Zmanit (proportional hour):
Jewish History

The forty days and nights of rainfall which covered the face of earth with water in Noah's time ended on Kislev 27 of the year 1656 from creation (2105 BCE. The flood itself lasted a full year, as related in Genesis 6-8).

Links: Chronology of the Flood; The Torah's account (Parshat Noach); The 40-Day Mikvah

On the 25th of Kislev in the year 3622 from creation, the Maccabees liberated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, after defeating the vastly more numerous and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who had tried to forcefully uproot the beliefs and practices of Judaism from the people of Israel. The victorious Jews repaired, cleansed and rededicated the Temple to the service of G-d. But all the Temple's oil had been defiled by the pagan invaders; when the Jews sought to light the Temple's menorah (candelabra), they found only one small cruse of ritually pure olive oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new, pure oil could be obtained. In commemoration, the Sages instituted the 8-day festival of Chanukah, on which lights are kindled nightly to recall and publicize the miracle.

Link: The Story of Chanukah

Rabbi Chaim of Tchernovitz (1760-1817) was a disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch and of Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov. He authored Be'er Mayim Chayim ("Well of Living Waters"), a commentary on Torah. Rabbi Chaim passed away on the 3rd day of Chanukah.

Link: More on Rabbi Chaim of Tchernovitz

Two years after his arrest and liberation in 1798 (see entries for "Kislev 19" and here), Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (founder of Chabad, 1745-1812) was arrested a second time; again, the charges were that his teachings undermined the imperial authority of the Czar. His second incarceration was less severe than the first; yet Chassidim mark the anniversary of his release on the third day of Chanukah with farbrengens (Chassidic gatherings) and the study of his teachings.

According to other versions of the story, the liberation occurred on the fifth day of Chanukah. Apparently the liberation happened in two stages.

Laws and Customs

In commemorartion of the miracle of Chanukah (see "Today in Jewish History" for Kislev 25) we kindle the Chanukah lights -- oil lamps or candles -- each evening of the eight-day festival, increasing the number of lights each evening. For tonight, we kindle four lights. (In the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall; this evening, then, commences the 4th day of Chanukah).

IMPORTANT: Because of the prohibition to kindle fire on Shabbat, the first Chanukah light must be lit before lighting the Shabbat candles, and should contain enough oil (or the candle be big enough) to burn until 30 minutes after nightfall.

For a more detailed guide to Chanukah lighting click here. For text and audio of the blessings recited before lighting, click here.

Additional Chanukah observances and customs are listed below:

Special prayers of thanksgiving -- Hallel (in its full version) and Al HaNissim -- are added to the daily prayers and Grace After Meals on all eight days of Chanukah. Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted for the duration of trhe festival.

On Chanukah we eat foods fried in oil -- such as latkes (potato cakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts) -- in commemoration of the miracle of the oil.

It is also customary to eat dairy foods in commemoration of Judith's heroic deed.

It is customary to play dreidel -- a game played with a spinning top inscribed with the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimmel, Hei and Shin, which spell the phrase Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, "a great miracle happened there." (It is said that when the Greeks forbade the study of Torah, Jewish children continued the study with their teachers in caves and cellars; when the agents of the king were seen approaching, the children would hide their scrolls and start to play with spinning tops...)

Links: About the dreidel

It is an age-old custom to distribute gifts of Chanukah gelt ("Chanukah money") to children on Chanukah. (It was the custom of the rebbes of Chabad-Lubavitch to give Chanukah gelt to their children and other family members on the fourth or fifth night of Chanukah; more recently, however, the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged the giving of Chanukah gelt every day of the festival -- except for Shabbat, when handling money is forbidden.)

Daily Thought

There are dark jewels in this world that can be salvaged, purified and taken as precious bounty for the good.

And there is darkness itself, the absence of light, that must only wait its time to expire.

How can we tell between them?

If the darkness fights back, there is hope.

It means there is something there worth fighting for.