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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

On the 2nd and 3rd of Av in the year 5702 from creation (1942 CE), more than 13,000 Jews were rounded up by French police and interred in the Vel' d'Hiv, an indoor bicycle stadium in the center of Paris. They were later transported to Auschwitz to be killed. Within days, the Vel' d'Hiv was cleaned up and ready for recreation.

Laws and Customs

During the “Nine Days" from Av 1st to the Ninth of Av, we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple. We abstain from meat and wine, music, haircutting, bathing for pleasure, and other joyous (and dangerous) activities. (The particular mourning customs vary from community to community, so consult a competent halachic authority for details.)

Consumption of meat and wine is permitted on Shabbat, or at a seudat mitzvah (obligatory festive meal celebrating the fulfillment of certain mitzvot) such as a brit (circumcision), or a siyum celebrating the completion of a course of Torah study (i.e., a complete Talmudic tractate). The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory initiated the custom of conducting or participating in a siyum on each of the Nine Days (even if one does not avail oneself of the dispensation to eat meat).

Citing the verse "Zion shall be redeemed with mishpat [Torah] and its returnees with tzedakah," (Isaiah 1:27) the Rebbe urged that we increase in Torah study (particularly the study of the laws of the Holy Temple) and charity during this period.

Links:
Nine Days laws and customs
Daily live siyum broadcasts
Learn about the Holy Temple in Jerusalem

Daily Thought

To the Rebbe, the exile of the Shechinah was a painful reality of desperate urgency. To the rest of us, well, we have other concerns. Again and again, the Rebbe struggled to bring us to his perspective, and to place the responsibility to change the world firmly in our hands:

Perhaps, for you, this exile is not so bad. And you feel you are doing whatever you can about it, anyway.

But it is not just you alone in exile. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the generations of their children, as well all the heavenly host—in fact, the entire creation—all is unfulfilled, in exile and imprisoned. Even the Creator locks Himself into prison along with His creation.

Until you get us out of here.

15 Shevat 5741:5.