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ב"ה
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Shabbat, January 15, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Wife of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneerson, and mother of the sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah (1860-1942) lived through the upheavals of the first half of the 20th century. She fled the advancing front of World War I from Lubavitch to Rostov, where her husband passed away in 1920 at age 59. In 1927, she witnessed the arrest of her son by Stalin's henchmen the night he was taken away and sentenced to death, G-d forbid, for his efforts to keep Judaism alive throughout the Soviet empire. After Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's release, the family resettled in Latvia and later, Poland; in 1940, they survived the bombing of Warsaw, were rescued from Nazi-occupied city, and emigrated to the United States. Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah passed away in New York on the 13th of Shevat of 1942.

On January 27, 1945, the Russian army arrived in Auschwitz, the most infamous of the Nazi death camps, and liberated some 7,000 survivors—those left behind as unfit to join the evacuation "Death March."

Link:
Essays and and Stories From the Holocaust

Laws and Customs

This week's Torah reading contains the "song at the sea" sung by the Children of Israel upon their deliverance from the Egyptians, when the Red Sea split to allow them to pass and then drowned their pursuers. Hence this Shabbat is designated as Shabbat Shirah, "Shabbat of song."

Our sages tell us that the birds in the sky joined our ancestors in their singing; for this reason it is customary to put out food for the birds for this Shabbat (to avoid the possibility of transgressing the laws of Shabbat, the food should be put out before Shabbat).

Links:
Parting of the Red Sea
Miriam: Tambourines of Rebellion

Daily Thought

There are two possible channels by which to receive your livelihood, according to the perspective you take in life:

You could decide to become just another element of nature, chasing after your bread in the chaos, running the race of survival of the fittest.

And the fact is, you may even do well taking this route—in the short run. In the long run, however, your soul is being denied its nourishment, and your body, too, will never feel satisfied.

Or you could see your life as an intimate relationship with the Source of Life Above—as though all your livelihood was no more than manna from heaven, handed to you personally and lovingly straight from the hand of your G‑d and partner in all you do.

Then your main job is to keep the basket where your manna will fall sparkling clean, insuring that no one is being hurt or misled by your business. To spend the profits you are granted on spreading kindness in the world.

Maybe you’ll get rich this way. Maybe you won’t. But you will always be satisfied.