ב"ה
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Friday, 1 Kislev, 5783

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Chodesh Kislev
Jewish History

As per the Talmud, the month of Kislev marks the onset of the winter season in the Holy Land and is the third month of the "Season of the Rains."

Link: Winter

For the first time since suffering a major heart attack five weeks earlier, on the eve of Shemini Atzeret, the Rebbe left his office in 770 Eastern Parkway and returned to his home, signaling his recovery. Chassidim all over rejoiced at the good news.

From that day on, the Rebbe redoubled his efforts on behalf of the Jewish nation and all of humanity, and for the dissemination of Torah and chassidism. From then on, the first of Kislev is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing.

Link: Illness and Challenge (from the timeline "biography of ideas" in Therebbe.org).

Laws and Customs

Today is the second of the two Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") days for the month of Kislev (when a month has 30 days, both the last day of the month and the first day of the following month serve as the following month's Rosh Chodesh).

Special portions are added to the daily prayers: Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited -- in its "partial" form -- following the Shacharit morning prayer, and the Yaaleh V'yavo prayer is added to the Amidah and to Grace After Meals; the additional Musaf prayer is said (when Rosh Chodesh is Shabbat, special additions are made to the Shabbat Musaf). Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Many have the custom to mark Rosh Chodesh with a festive meal and reduced work activity. The latter custom is prevalent amongst women, who have a special affinity with Rosh Chodesh -- the month being the feminine aspect of the Jewish Calendar.

Links: The Jewish Month of Kislev
The Laws of Rosh Chodesh
How Does a Jewish Woman Celebrate Rosh Chodesh?

Daily Thought

When you value human beings, you avoid speaking about their faults at all costs. As G-d did with Esau.

As Isaac aged, his eyesight weakened. (Genesis 27:1)

This was in order that Jacob would be able to take the blessings of Esau. (Rashi)

This is puzzling. If G‑d wanted Jacob to receive Isaac’s blessings, He could have simply revealed to Isaac that Esau was wicked.

Especially since Isaac already had reason to believe something was up with Esau. He knew that Esau had wives who offered incense to idols. He knew that mention of G‑d was not part of Esau’s mode of speech.

So all G-d needed to do was to fill Isaac in on the whole story.

But G‑d didn’t want to speak badly about Esau.

We call this lashon hara—speaking badly of another person even when what you say is true.

Now consider this: For the sake of wicked Esau, G‑d declined to speak unkind words—although that meant Isaac would have to be confined to his home and barely alive for 57 years.

For a fellow human being who may have slipped up a few times in life, isn’t it worthwhile to suffer the silence of our mouths for a moment or two?

Likutei Sichot vol. 15, p. 215.