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Shabbat, January 19, 2019

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 is a beast inside. It awaits you for its tikkun.

How do you fix up the human beast? First with prayer, then with food, but ultimately by doing business.

You need to start with meditation and prayer, because that beast inside needs to experience not only wonder, but even love for G‑d. The problem is, in prayer and meditation you have not yet met that beast on its own ground.

Next, eat your breakfast like a human being is meant to eat—a step higher than the food you consume, raising it up rather than letting it pull you down. Then, yes, you have met your human beast on its own ground. But not on its own terms. You are still fighting with it—against its desire to be pulled down into the food.

So then go out into the world and provide goods and services of value, and do that with integrity.

No longer are you fighting against the human beast. You are working with it and from within it, with all the talents and skills you have. Because otherwise, you are not providing the value for which others are paying, and that is not integrity.

Now you can understand why the very first question asked of the soul when it returns from its mission in this world is not “How did you pray?” or “How did you eat?” but “Did you do business with integrity?” For that is when you truly fixed up this world.

Padah B’Shalom 5739.