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Sunday, October 3, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

R. Yitzchak was a great-grandson of R. Shlomo Yitzchaki, the seminal Biblical and Talmudic commentator commonly known as Rashi. R. Yitzchak and his three uncles—R. Shmuel (Rashbam), R. Yaakov (Rabbeinu Tam), and R. Yitzchak (Rivam)—are among the earliest and most well-known Tosafists. Their comments and explanations, which appear on the outer margin of all classical prints of the Talmud, are vital to any serious student who wishes to properly understand the Talmud.

Link: The Tosafists

Laws and Customs

The Shabbat after Simchat Torah is Shabbat Bereishit -- "Shabbat of Beginning" -- the first Shabbat of the annual Torah reading cycle, on which the Torah section of Bereishit ("In the Beginning") is read.

The weekly Torah reading is what defines the Jewish week, serving as the guide and point of reference for the week's events, deeds and decisions; Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi called this "living with the times." Hence the theme and tone of this week is one of beginning and renewal, as we launch into yet another cycle of Torah life. The Rebbes of Chabad would say: "As one establishes oneself on Shabbat Bereishit, so goes the rest of the year."

Link: Beginnings

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim (“the Shabbat that blesses" the new month): a special prayer is recited blessing the Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") of the upcoming month of Cheshvan (also known as "MarCheshvan"), which falls on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Prior to the blessing, we announce the precise time of the molad, the "birth" of the new moon. See molad times.

It is a Chabad custom to recite the entire book of Psalms before morning prayers, and to conduct farbrengens (chassidic gatherings) in the course of the Shabbat.

Links: Shabbat Mevarchim; Tehillim (the Book of Psalms); The Farbrengen

Daily Thought

Envision a deluge over all the earth, hellish waves pounding back and forth, crushing every structure, carrying away every living being, until no dry land remains, no life endures.

This is the world into which you were thrown. The waves are the stress and anxiety of indecision, not knowing which way to turn, on what to rely. Up and down, hot and cold—constantly churning back and forth, sucking the life out of you.

The secret you must know is that these are truly peaceful waters. They are called “the waters of Noah”—because their energy can be harnessed to achieve true serenity.

Do as Noah did and build an ark. Ark in Hebrew is teivah—which also means “a word.” Your ark shall be the words of Torah and of prayer, of mitzvahs and of kind deeds. When the waves rage—whether from outside or from within your own heart—direct their power into those harmonious words.

Rather than drown you with everything else, let that raw energy of the mighty waters carry you upward—into a serene world you could never reach without them.

Mayim Rabim 5738.