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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

According to Rabbi Judah (cited in the Talmud, Bava Metzia 106b), Tevet 29 marks the end of winter. (As per Genesis 8:22, the year consists of six 2-month "seasons": seedtime, harvest, cold, heat, summer and winter.)

Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, known in recent years as "the eldest of the Kabbalists," in the Holy Land, was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1898. As a youth, he studied under the great "Ben Ish Chai" (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of  Baghdad, 1840-1913) and was regarded as an illu (prodigy) by the sages of the venerable Baghdad Jewish community. In 1922, Rabbi Yitzchak emigrated to the Holy Land and joined the ranks of the Jerusalem Kabbalists, even as he earned his living for many years as a bookbinder. Over the years his fame grew, and thousands flocked to him to receive his counsel and blessing.

Rabbi Kaduri passed away on the 29th of Tevet of 2006, age 108. Hundreds of thousands attended his funeral in Jerusalem.

Link: Visit by a Sephardic Leader

In 1793, Tripoli (in what is now Libya) fell under the rule of the cruel Ali Burghul, who took advantage of divisions within the local leadership to take control of the city. Burghul terrorized the city’s inhabitants—especially the Jews—with excessive taxes and unjust executions. Among those executed was the son of R. Abraham Khalfon, the head of the Jewish community.

In 1795, a local Jew helped negotiate an agreement between the opposing factions, and on 29 Teves they succeeded in driving Burghul out of the city. The community celebrated this day each year as a day of rejoicing, and would recite a special hymn recounting the miracle (printed in Se’u Zimrah, pp. 191ff.).

The community of Tripoli kept a similar date of rejoicing one week earlier, on 23 Teves, commemorating the date (in 1705) when a siege that had been placed on the city by the ruler of Tunisia was lifted.

Laws and Customs
Starting in the afternoon, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.
Daily Thought

There are three forms of enlightened life:

One is life upon a wild beast. Only that the inner self is awake, and that innerness is joined by a great light from Above, so that eyes stay on the road, with mind, words and limbs working together to reach their destination.

There are many levels to this rung, but all are within the reach of every person.

Then there is a person in whom burns a holy fire of desire for the Oneness of the Infinite Light. With this fire, he overwhelms the fire of earthly passion, until it is diminished to no more than a faint flicker.

This again knows many levels, but all within the realm of the tzaddik—something not every person is meant to attain in this life.

There is also an ultimate point: Where the fire of earthly passion becomes itself a G‑dly force. Then there will not be any more darkness, for we will have revealed how all darkness shines.

This is the stage of a time to come, but it is being formed in the here and now, out of our struggle with that wild beast and the harnessing of its passions.