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Monday, February 13, 2017

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Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

A noxious plot was brewing against the Jewish community of Saragossa, but they were completely unaware of the looming danger. They were spared, however, thanks to a handful of synagogues beadles who acted on a dream they all had. The resulting salvation on the 17th of Shevat was celebrated by Saragossan Jews, and dubbed "Purim Saragossa."

A Hebrew Megillah (scroll) was penned, describing the details of the miraculous story. To this day, this scroll is read in certain communities on Purim Saragossa.

Link: Purim Saragossa

Daily Thought

This Torah we were given is not of the world, neither is it something extraneous to it. Rather, it is the hidden essence, the primal thought from which all the cosmos and each thing within it extends. It is not about the world, it is the world—the world as its Creator sees it and knows it to be.

The sages of the Talmud told us that the Torah is the blueprint G‑d used to design His creation. There is not a thing that cannot be found there.

Even more, they told us, the Torah is far beyond the world, beyond time, beyond any sort of being. G‑d and His Torah are one, for His thoughts are not extraneous to Him, nor do they effect any change in Him, as do our thoughts. Rather, His thoughts, His wisdom, His desire—all are a simple oneness that does not change.

But He took that infinite wisdom and condensed it a thousandfold, a billionfold, and more, into finite, earthly terms that we could grasp—yet without losing a drop of its purity, of its intimate bond with Him. Then He put it into our hands to learn, to explore and to extend.

So now, when our mind grasps a thought of Torah, thoroughly, with utter clarity, we grasp that inner wisdom. And when we are completely absorbed in the process of thought, comprehension and application, our self and being is grasped by that infinite wisdom which is the essence of all things.

We have grasped it, and it grasps us. In truth, we become that essence.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, Tanya, chapters 4 and 5.