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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In the first year of rule of Cyrus, the King of Persia, Jews were given permission to return to Israel and rebuild the Holy Temple. A group of Jews led by Zerubavel set out for Jerusalem and began working on the second Temple. However, the Cutheans falsely accused the Jews of plotting a rebellion against King Cyrus and were successful in halting the construction of the Holy Temple for the remainder of his reign and throughout the reign of Ahasuerus, his successor. Construction resumed in the second year of the reign of Darius, Ahasuerus's son, on the 24th of Kislev.

Laws and Customs

The eight-day festival of Chanukah begins tonight. In commemorartion of the miracle of the oil (see "Today in Jewish History" for Kislev 25) we kindle the Chanukah lights -- oil lamps or candles -- each evening for eight days, increasing the number of lights each evening. Tonight, the first night of Chanukah, we kindle one light. (In the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall; this evening, then, commences the 1st day of Chanukah).

On the 1st night of Chanukah, we recite three blessings before lighting; for text and audio of the blessings, click here.

For a more detailed guide to Chanukah lighting click here.

The lights—which ideally should be kindled soon after sunset—must burn for at least half an hour after nightfall. Learn more about the proper lighting time here.

For additional Chanukah observances, see Laws & Customs for tomorrow, Kislev 25.

Daily Thought

Perhaps a person will say,

“I cannot fathom an infinite Creator, so why should I attempt to do so?”

“And why should I attempt to awaken my heart to show Him love? What can the love of this puny creature provide Him?”

“So I will just serve Him in complete surrender, doing that which is to be done, connecting to a will and desire far beyond my own.”

Such a person may be wise, but he is wrong.

Yes, it is absurd, but G‑d desires to be grasped by your human mind.

Yes, it is inconceivable, but He desires to find a home within the innermost chamber of your heart, no matter how tiny that place may be.

For this He created you, so that He could dwell within your world.

Serve G‑d with all your heart and all your mind—because that too is His unfathomable, unbounded desire.

Maamar Ki Yish’alcha Bincha