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Shabbat, March 21, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Hachodesh
Jewish History

Death of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian emperor who conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the first Holy Temple 26 years earlier, died on the 25th of Adar of the year 3364 from creation. (Jeremiah 52:31)

Rebbetzin Chaya Mushkah Schneerson (1901-1988) of righteous memory, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe of righteous memory, was born on Shabbat, the 25th of Adar, in Babinovich, a town near the Russian city of Lubavitch, in the year 5661 from creation (1901). In an address delivered on the 25 of Adar of 1988 (the Rebbetzin's 87th birthday, and about a month after her passing), the Rebbe initiated an international birthday campaign, urging people to celebrate their birthdays and utilize the day as a time of introspection and making resolutions involving an increase in good deeds.

Links:
A biography of the Rebbetzin
On the Jewish Birthday and the birthday customs

Laws and Customs

On the Shabbat that falls on or before the 1st of Nissan, a special reading called "Hachodesh" (Exodus 12:1-20) is added to the regular Shabbat Torah reading. Hachodesh recounts G-d's historic communication to Moses in Egypt on the 1st of Nissan (2 weeks before the Exodus) regarding the Jewish calendar, the month of Nissan and the Passover offering.

Links: The Reading for Hachodesh
From the teachings of the Chassidic masters on Hachodesh
About the Jewish calendar
Haftorah in a Nutshell

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim (“the Shabbat that blesses" the new month): a special prayer is recited blessing the Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") of the upcoming month of Nisan, which falls on Thursday of the following week.

Prior to the blessing, we announce the precise time of the molad, the "birth" of the new moon. See molad times.

It is a Chabad custom to recite the entire book of Psalms before morning prayers, and to conduct farbrengens (chassidic gatherings) in the course of the Shabbat.

Links: Shabbat Mevarchim; Tehillim (the Book of Psalms); The Farbrengen

Daily Thought

Envision a deluge over all the earth, hellish waves pounding back and forth, crushing every structure, carrying away every living being, until no dry land remains, no life endures.

This is the world into which you were thrown. The waves are the stress and anxiety of indecision, not knowing which way to turn, on what to rely. Up and down, hot and cold—constantly churning back and forth, sucking the life out of you.

The secret you must know is that these are truly peaceful waters. They are called “the waters of Noah”—because their energy can be harnessed to achieve true serenity.

Do as Noah did and build an ark. Ark in Hebrew is teivah—which also means “a word.” Your ark shall be the words of Torah and of prayer, of mitzvahs and of kind deeds. When the waves rage—whether from outside or from within your own heart—direct their power into those harmonious words.

Rather than drown you with everything else, let that raw energy of the mighty waters carry you upward—into a serene world you could never reach without them.

Mayim Rabim 5738.