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ב"ה
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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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 Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") for the month of Kislev.

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 29th Day; The Lunar Files

Daily Thought

"G-dliness is everything. Everything is G-dliness."
-Baal Shem Tov.

Each of these paths contains what the other is missing: When we reveal that G‑dliness is everything, even the darkness is included. But the world experiences no lasting change. Because there is no world. There is only G‑dliness.

And that is what Abraham did with Ishmael. Ishmael reformed himself during his father's lifetime. And afterwards, he once again fell away.

When we know that everything is G‑dliness, we can transform the world by shoveling away the darkness to uncover the sparks of G‑dliness hidden there. But the darkness remains darkness.

That is what Isaac accomplished with Esau. Esau's head, we are told, rests on Isaac's lap in the cave. But his body remains out in the field.

The path of Jacob is to discover within each thing That Which Is Everything, while simultaneously bringing That Which Is Beyond All Things to dwell within each thing. Jacob knows a G‑d who is at once both beyond and within.

To Jacob, darkness is also light. Eventually, Jacob will redeem Esau.

Likutei Sichot vol. 15, pp. 191-199.