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Monday, October 8, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Today is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of Rabbi Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508), one of the leaders of Spanish Jewry at the time of the 1492 expulsion. A minister in the king's court (after having served as treasurer to the king of Portugal), he chose to join his brethren in their exile. He began writing his extensive and highly regarded commentary on the Torah in 1503 in Venice (where it was published in 1579).

Daily Thought

When the Mighty Waters cover your head, suffocating the soul and the flame that burnt inside . . .

When raging torrents of confusion drag you away in their current, ripping you from your hold on Life . . .

Look deeper. Beyond the soul.

For the soul itself, as well as the flame it holds, are rooted in a serene G‑dly World of Emanation, a world of quietness and sublime harmony.

But the turbulence of this world is rooted even beyond that, stemming from a World of Confusion, of light unbounded and untamed, before the orderly emanation of defined being, “and the world was confused and void, with darkness over the face of the deep.”

So you must dig deeper than those roots, to find the coals from which the flame arose and the flint rock from which the spark was struck. Deeper, until you reach the primordial essence of the soul, beyond Emanation, beyond Light—even beyond the unbounded light of pre-creation. Where there is nothing but the seminal thought which inspired all that is and was and will come to be.

And what was that thought? It was the thought of you here and now, in your struggle with this world, and the delicious taste of your victory.

And, since in that thought there is no past and future, there, in that thought, you have already won.

Now you must make it happen.