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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In the course of a fight with a Christian fisherman, a Jew dealt him a blow which led to his death. The infuriated Christians of Narbonne, France, started rioting and attacking the Jewish community.

The governor of Narbonne, Don Aymeric, quickly intervened, and dispatched a contingent of soldiers to protect the Jewish community. The riot was immediately halted and all the spoils stolen during the riots were returned to the Jews. The 21st of Adar was recorded as "Purim Narbonne," a day when the community annually celebrated this historic event.

The great Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk (1717-1786) was one of the elite disciples of Rabbi DovBer, the Maggid of Mezritch, and a colleague of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. He is also widely known as the No'am Elimelech, the title of the renowned chassidic work he authored.

Rabbi Elimelech attracted many thousands of chassidim, among them many who after his passing became great chassidic masters in their own right. Most notable amongst them was Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz, the "Seer of Lublin." Many of the current chassidic dynasties trace themselves back to Rabbi Elimelech.

Link: R. Elimelech of Lizhensk

Daily Thought

Sometimes an opportunity to do something good comes along, but you’re not sure it’s worth the effort. So here’s a thought to ponder:

On the one hand, Maimonides wrote that the world is held in such delicate balance that one good deed can change everything.

On the other hand, go out and look. Does this seem like a balanced world? Like a world where goodness and wickedness come in equal measure?

Or is this a world where the bad guys keep winning and the good guys are tread underfoot?

A world, as the kabbalist Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote, “where the wicked dominate, where most of life is harsh and brutal; a world that is almost entirely wicked with but a tiny infusion of goodness scattered throughout.”

But then, we really have no idea how to quantify the ratio of goodness to bad.

Because goodness is light. Wickedness is darkness.

One flash of light disrupts a huge amount of darkness. One sincere good deed is even more powerful.

So powerful, that if the Creator would infuse just a sliver beyond the minuscule ration of goodness alloted to this world, wickedness wouldn’t have a chance.

But He placed you in His universe. You, a human being, who has access to light from beyond the system.

You, who with one small but earnest act of goodness can radically disrupt the balance of this entire universe and transform its nature forever.

Do it now.