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Friday, December 8, 2017

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Chaf Kislev - "Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism"
Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Ezra, head of the Sanhedrin and the leader of the Jewish people at the time of the building of the Second Temple, made an historic address to a three-day assemblage of Jews in Jerusalem, exhorting them to adhere to the teachings of the Torah and to dissolve their interfaith marriages (the Jewish people were on the verge of complete assimilation at the time, following their 70-year exile in Babylonia).

Links: On Intermarriage

The first printing of the "bible of Chassidism", the Tanya, the magnum opus of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad.

Links: The Longer Shorter Way; Lessons in Tanya (includes an English translation of the Hebrew text plus explanatory commentary in English); 28 Teachings

Laws and Customs

The Rosh Hashanah ("new year") of Chassidism, marking the liberation of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi and the subsequent blossoming of Chabad Chassidism, is celebrated for two days, Kislev 19-20. (The Rebbe was released from prison on the 19th, but his full freedom was only obtained late in the evening -- Kislev 20 on the Jewish Calendar.) The two days are celebrated with farbrengens (Chassidic gatherings) and an increased commitment to the ways and teachings of Chassidism. Tachnun (supplication) and similar prayers are omitted. For more information and links, see entries for yesterday Kislev 19.

In Chabad practice, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted today.
Daily Thought

In prayer, we are taught, we must stand in perfect stillness, as though overwhelmed and absorbed in the Infinite Light.

But isn’t that a lie? Aren’t we pretending to be something far beyond who we really are?

No—it is the truth. That is the true state of our soul, and the body reflects the soul. Everything that stands between—our minds, our hearts and our egos—all may be oblivious to the state of our souls, but the physical body can still reflect it.

How could that be? How could the physical body reflect that which the mind and heart cannot?

Don’t be so surprised. Very often the most lofty and spiritual can find no other place to be manifest but in the most simple and physical.