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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

According to Rabbi Judah (cited in the Talmud, Bava Metzia 106b), Tevet 29 marks the end of winter. (As per Genesis 8:22, the year consists of six 2-month "seasons": seedtime, harvest, cold, heat, summer and winter.)

Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, known in recent years as "the eldest of the Kabbalists," in the Holy Land, was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1898. As a youth, he studied under the great "Ben Ish Chai" (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of  Baghdad, 1840-1913) and was regarded as an illu (prodigy) by the sages of the venerable Baghdad Jewish community. In 1922, Rabbi Yitzchak emigrated to the Holy Land and joined the ranks of the Jerusalem Kabbalists, even as he earned his living for many years as a bookbinder. Over the years his fame grew, and thousands flocked to him to receive his counsel and blessing.

Rabbi Kaduri passed away on the 29th of Tevet of 2006, age 108. Hundreds of thousands attended his funeral in Jerusalem.

Link: Visit by a Sephardic Leader

In 1793, Tripoli (in what is now Libya) fell under the rule of the cruel Ali Burghul, who took advantage of divisions within the local leadership to take control of the city. Burghul terrorized the city’s inhabitants—especially the Jews—with excessive taxes and unjust executions. Among those executed was the son of R. Abraham Khalfon, the head of the Jewish community.

In 1795, a local Jew helped negotiate an agreement between the opposing factions, and on 29 Teves they succeeded in driving Burghul out of the city. The community celebrated this day each year as a day of rejoicing, and would recite a special hymn recounting the miracle (printed in Se’u Zimrah, pp. 191ff.).

The community of Tripoli kept a similar date of rejoicing one week earlier, on 23 Teves, commemorating the date (in 1705) when a siege that had been placed on the city by the ruler of Tunisia was lifted.

Laws and Customs
Starting in the afternoon, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.
Daily Thought

Your mind is held hostage and cannot speak with your heart.

That is how the master of the Kabbalah, the Ari, describes the enslavement of Ancient Egypt as it plays out within the human soul.

You understand very well how you should be. You envision all that you could become. But your heart does not hear of it, and runs wild.

So nothing changes. You remain a mindless slave to the moment.

Indeed, the Hebrew letters that spell Pharaoh are the same as those for the Hebrew word oref, "the back of the neck."

Pharaoh grabs you from the back of your neck and strangles your wisdom.

He hijacks your mind so your thoughts are devoted to building pointless structures up to the sky, chasing ephemeral pleasures, wasting time on nonsense, and swelling the ego, not allowing more than a trickle of your higher mind to enter your dry, sleeping heart.

How will you escape?

Go out of yourself and do something purely good, a mitzvah that feels far beyond your self-image.

Forget yourself, the limits of your understanding, the coldness of your heart.

Wrapped together within a light utterly beyond them all, mind, body, heart and soul will surrender and bond in perfect union.

With one small deed, you have liberated yourself from bondage.