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Shabbat, January 27, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Three years after the request by the Council of Colmar, Emperor Maximilian I granted permission to expel the Jews of Colmar, Germany. The community exerted every effort to secure the repeal of the decree of banishment. With the help of Rabbi Joselman of Rosheim, the leader of the Alsatian Jews, the enforcement of the decree was postponed until S. George's Day of 1512.

Birth of the revered Torah scholar, pietist and Jewish leader Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (1838-1933) of Radin (Poland), author of Chafetz Chaim (a work on the evils of gossip and slander and the guidelines of proper speech) and Mishnah Berurah (a codification of Torah law).

Link: A Tzaddik's Tear

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: The Chassidic Masters on song; Miriam's song

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.