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Sunday, 11 Cheshvan, 5782

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Methuselah, the longest-lived human being of all time, died at the age of 969 years on the 11th of Cheshvan of the year 1656 from creation (2105 BCE) -- exactly seven days before the beginning of the Great Flood. Methuselah was Adam's great-great-great-great-great-grandson and Noah's grandfather.

The matriarch Rachel died in childbirth on the 11th of Cheshvan of the year 2208 from creation (1553 BCE) while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin.

Rachel was born in Aram (Mesopotamia) approximately 1585 BCE. Her father was Laban, the brother of Jacob's mother, Rebecca. Jacob came to Laban's home in 1576 BCE, fleeing the wrath of his brother Esau. He fell in love with Rachel and worked for seven years tending Laban's sheep in return for her hand in marriage. But Laban deceived his nephew, and on the morning after the wedding Jacob discovered that he had married Rachel's elder sister, Leah. Laban agreed to give him Rachel as a wife as well in return for another seven years' labor.

Rachel was childless for many years, while her elder sister and rival gave birth to six sons and a daughter in succession. Finally, in 1562 BCE, she gave birth to Joseph. Nine years later, while Jacob and his family were on the road to Jacob's ancestral home in Hebron (after a 22-year absence), she gave birth to a second son, but died in childbirth. Jacob buried her by the roadside, in Bethlehem; there, "Rachel weeps over her children, for they are gone [in exile]" (Jeremiah 31:14). Her tomb has served as a place of prayer for Jews for more than 35 centuries.

Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl was a disciple of the second leader of the Chassidic movement, Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch, and the founder of the Chernobyl dynasty of Chassidic Rebbes.

Daily Thought

G‑d appeared to Abraham…but he looked up and saw that there were three men… (Genesis 18:2)

Abraham put aside his encounter with G‑d in order to greet his guests. From this we learn that hosting guests is so great that it takes priority over an encounter with G‑d. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah)

The three men that Abraham greeted and fed turned out to be angels.

Angels don’t eat or drink. Neither do they need a place to sleep. They only pretended to eat and drink out of respect for Abraham.

If so, what did Abraham accomplish? He served food to beings that never hunger and drinks to beings that never thirst. For this he walked out of a private audience with G‑d Himself?!

Aside from that, how can we learn from his example the greatness of caring for guests when in fact he provided his guests with nothing?

Yet indeed we learn more from this incident than any other.

We learn that the main ingredient of hosting guests is not the food, not the drink, not even the roof over their heads and a comfortable bed.

The crucial ingredient of hosting guests is to show them that you care.

And that, Abraham and Sarah exemplified to perfection.

Likutei Sichot vol. 25, p. 78.