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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1843, the Interior Ministry of the Czarist government convened a rabbinical conference in the Russian capital of Petersburg, to the end of imposing changes in Jewish communal life and religious practice. Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789-1866, known as the "Tzemach Tzedek" after his Halachic works by that name) was invited; as a primary figure in the leadership of Russian Jewry, his compliance was required to lend legitimacy to the government's proposed "reforms". In the course of the conference, the Tzemach Tzeddek was placed under arrest no less than 22 (!) times for his refusal to cooperate. When he finally departed Petersburg on the 26th of Av, he had successfully prevented the government's disruption of traditional Jewish life.

Links:
A Brief Biography of the Tzemach Tzedek
More on the Tzemach Tzeddek

R. Yoel Teitelbaum was the founding rebbe of the Satmar chassidic dynasty, named after the town of Satmar (or Satu Mare) in what is today northwestern Romania. After World War II (see entry for 21 Kislev), he relocated to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he continued to lead his thousands of followers. He passed away on 26 Menachem Av, 5739 (1979).

Daily Thought

To whom does a Jew pray?

Can He be described? Does He have a name?

No, there is no description with which to imagine Him, no name with which to grasp Him. Even the pronoun “Him” discloses too much to be true—as though He were something that is here or not here, hidden or revealed. As though He were only light.

But He is not light. He is the source of light. At the source of all light, there is no hiddenness or revelation, no being or not being.

There is only “You.” Here, now, known to all beings in Your unknowableness.

As Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch wrote:

You that all know of You.

You that all put their trust only in You.

You that all plead only to You.

You that no creation nor emanation knows who and what You are.

And so we pray to You alone, for You alone, the Unknowable, are known to all.

Sefer Hakuntreisim Vol. II, pg. 592.