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Thursday, 5 Tevet, 5780

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Tevet 5 is celebrated as a day of rejoicing in the Chabad-Lubavitch community. On this date in 1987, U.S. Federal Court issued a decision in favor of Agudas Chassidei Chabad ("Union of Chabad Chassidim") regarding the ownership of the priceless library of the 6th Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn. The ruling was based on the idea that a Rebbe is not a private individual but a communal figure synonymous with the body of Chassidim. The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's son-in-law and successor) urged that the occasion be marked with time devoted to study from Torah books ("sefarim") as well as the acquisition of new Torah books.

Learn more about Hey Tevet
Watch: A Movement on Trial
The Rebbe's Library

In 434 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded Judea, exiling King Jehoiachin and thousands of Judean notables to Babylon. Eleven years later, the Nebuchadnezzar’s army invaded Jerusalem again, setting fire to the Temple and massacring its inhabitants. The tragic news reached the Babylonian exiles five months later, on 5 Teves 422 BCE (Ezekiel 33:21). According to a minority opinion, this day is commemorated as a fast day (Talmud, Tractate Rosh Hashanah 18b).

Link: The Destruction of the First Holy Temple

Shlomo was raised as a Marrano and served at the royal court in Lisbon, Portugal. When the enigmatic David HaReuveini appeared in Portugal, claiming to hail from the Ten Lost Tribes, Shlomo was inspired to return to Judaism. So as not to be indicted by the Inquisition for abandoning Christianity, R. Shlomo traveled to Salonica, Turkey, and then to Safed, Israel, where he delved into the intricacies of Kabbalah. Sadly, the Inquisition caught up to him and he was given the choice of accepting Christianity or being burned at the stake. R. Shlomo chose the latter, and he was killed in Mantua, Italy, meriting to sanctify G‑d’s name.

Link: Is a Jew Required to Die Rather than Disobey a Torah Command?

Daily Thought

A college student once asked the Rebbe what is his job. The Rebbe gestured to the ceiling of his room and replied:

Do you see that light bulb? It is connected by wires to an electrical generating station that powers the whole of Brooklyn. And that plant is connected to turbo-generators at Niagara Falls that power the whole of New York State and more.

Every one of us is a light bulb wired into an infinitely powerful generator. But the room may still be dark, because the connection has yet to be made, and it is hard to find a switch in the dark.

The job of a rebbe is to take your hand in that dark room and help it find the switch.