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Shabbat, 17 Shevat, 5784

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

A noxious plot was brewing against the Jewish community of Saragossa, but they were completely unaware of the looming danger. They were spared, however, thanks to a handful of synagogues beadles who acted on a dream they all had. The resulting salvation on the 17th of Shevat was celebrated by Saragossan Jews, and dubbed "Purim Saragossa."

A Hebrew Megillah (scroll) was penned, describing the details of the miraculous story. To this day, this scroll is read in certain communities on Purim Saragossa.

Link:
Purim Saragossa

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

Think of your world as a massive jigsaw puzzle in three dimensions plus time. Every object and event that enters your world is meant to fit together neatly with all the other.

And yet they seem just a heap of discordant fragments.

Here is the trick to reassembling those broken pieces:

Start by finding your own purpose. Then move headstrong towards it. Once you find purpose, all that’s needed for that purpose will find you. And those things already attached to you will find their place as well.

Suddenly, where once noise and chaos tore you in a thousand directions, there plays a magnificent symphony.