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Monday, July 19, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

The Romans set the Temple aflame on the afternoon of Av 9 (see yesterday's Today in Jewish History and it continued to burn through Av 10. For this reasons, some of the mourning practices of the "Nine Days" are observed through the morning hours of Av 10 (see "Laws and Customs" below)

Arab terrorists exploded a bomb in the the Jewish community center (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 86 and wounding more than 300, in the most lethal attack against any diaspora Jewish community since the Holocaust.

Link: Terrorism

More than 8,500 Jewish residents were forcefully expelled from their homes in 25 towns and settlements in the Gaza Strip (including 16 settlements in the flourishing "Gush Katif" belt) and Northern Shomron in the summer of 2005, as part of the Israeli government's ill-fated "Disengagement Plan."

Av 10 was the deadline set by the governments for all Jews to leave their homes in these areas. Two days later, tens of thousands of soldiers and police officers began the forceful removal of the thousands who refused to leave willingly. The removal of all Jewish residents from Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip was completed by Av 17, and from Northern Samaria a day later. The army completed its withdrawal from these areas on the 8th of Elul, after bulldozing all the hundreds of homes and civic buildings in the settlements. The Jewish dead were disinterred and removed from the cemeteries. Only the synagogues were left standing.

The government's hopes that the "disengagement" would open "new opportunities" in relations with the Palestinian Arabs were bitterly disappointed. No sooner had the last Israeli soldiers departed from the Gaza Strip that Arab mobs began looting, desecrating and tourching the synagogues. The vacated settlements became the staging grounds for terrorist attacks against Israel, including the unremitting rocket fire on the nearby Israeli town of Sederot and the cities and settlements of the Western Negev.

Links: The Gaza "Disengagement"

Issachar, the son of Jacob and Leah, ninth of the Twelve Tribes, was born on 10 Menachem Av in Haran. He lived to the age of 122. The tribe of Issachar was well-known for their Torah scholarship, producing many members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court.

Link: The Torah-Business Partnership

Laws and Customs

In commemoration of the burning of the Temple which lasted into the 10th day of Av, we continue the mourning practices of the "Nine Days" (abstaining from meat and wine, music, recreational bathing, etc.--see "Laws and Customs" for "Av 1) until after mid-day.

Once a month, as the moon waxes in the sky, we recite a special blessing called Kiddush Levanah, "the sanctification of the moon," praising the Creator for His wondrous work we call astronomy.

Kiddush Levanah is recited after nightfall, usually on Saturday night. The blessing is concluded with songs and dancing, because our nation is likened to the moon—as it waxes and wanes, so have we throughout history. When we bless the moon, we renew our trust that very soon, the light of G‑d's presence will fill all the earth and our people will be redeemed from exile.

Though Kiddush Levanah can be recited as early as three days after the moon's rebirth, the kabbalah tells us it is best to wait a full week, till the seventh of the month. When sanctifying the moon of the month of Av, it is customary to wait till the night after Tishah B'Av.

Once 15 days have passed, the moon begins to wane once more and the season for saying the blessing has passed.


Brief Guide to Kiddush Levanah: Thank G‑d for the Moon!
More articles on Kiddush Levanah from our knowledgebase.

Daily Thought

If the universe were a dumb, cold accident, and life a meaningless, random accident of nature, then you and I and all that exist are prisoners of our past. Nothing makes sense, because nothing needs to make sense. Nothing improves, because nothing is going anywhere. On the contrary, all is entropy and decay.

But in truth a profound intelligence breathes within this creation. And what is intelligence if not a means by which the present is driven by a destiny that lies in the future?

It is a destiny to which every soul belongs, and to which all the universe flows relentlessly, as a mighty river headed from the mountains to the sea.

From our perspective trapped within time, we very rarely have a glimpse of that destiny as it approaches within every moment. It is, after all, a destiny entirely beyond anything our minds can conceive. And so, the journey is also beyond our comprehension.

But once attained, all the pain and struggle of every lifetime will be transformed, having discovered its divine meaning. We will finally see how every step along the way was another great leap forward, another unfolding of divine wisdom, and all was sweetness, all was good, the ultimate good.

Likutei Sichot, vol. 18, pg. 390 ff.