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Monday, January 6, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Ezra, who led the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel after the Babylonian exile (423-353 BCE), oversaw the building of the Second Temple, canonized the 24 books of the Holy Scriptures ("bible") and, as head of the "Great Assembly" legislated a series of laws and practices (including formalized prayer) which left a strong imprint on Judaism to this very day, passed away on the 9th of Tevet of the year 3448 from creation (313 BCE -- exactly 1000 years after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai). The passing of Ezra marked the end of the "Era of Prophecy".

Links

Learn more about Ezra
Men of the Great Assembly

Alfred Dreyfus, a captain in the French Army, was falsely accused of treason, largely on account of his Jewish identity. On this date, he was formally stripped from his rank, following which he was deported to Devil’s Island, where he languished for over four years. The case and its aftermath, known as the Dreyfus Affair, served as a poignant reminder that despite modern promises of equality and progress, anti-Semitism was still prevalent and Jews were unable to fully integrate into European society.

Link: A Lesson from Grandpa Laban

After being found guilty of crimes against humanity, the evil Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was put to death. Hussein was responsible for the Kuwait invasion that sparked the First Gulf War, and subsequently launched tens of SCUD missiles against Israel.

Link: Purim Saddam

Daily Thought

How to unmask a blessing in disguise:

Stare it in the face and say, “I know you are not just a lousy day or bad luck. I know you are a good friend—even if for the life of me I cannot determine how. I know there is only one Source of All Things, and nothing can convince me that evil descends from Above. Evil descends from the constraints of my perception. You are no more than a blessing in disguise.”

This blessing, if truly a great one, will not surrender its cover easily. You will need a composure that demonstrates you meant every word you said. You will need to hold your ground like a mountain against the sea. You will need to surprise yourself with your own resolve.

And then you can turn over a world. A world that once distorted every blessing that squeezed through its gates will now open those gates wide. And the blessings that have already entered will sigh a breath of relief as one by one they discard their scary costumes.