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Monday, November 1, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

R. Refael was the chief rabbi of the three sister cities of Altona, Hamburg and Wandsbek in Germany for twenty-three years. These three important Jewish centers were known as AHU, after their Hebrew abbreviations, and were the residence of many famous scholars and personalities, such as R. Jonathan Eibeschutz, R. Tzvi Ashkenazi, R. Jacob Emden, and Glueckel of Hameln.

Daily Thought

The life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years, the years of the life of Sarah. (Genesis 23:1)

All of them were equally good. (Rashi)

In which direction does your life move?
To wherever you have placed its arrow.

When your arrow points forever backward, always blaming the present on the past and scripting the future accordingly, then there is nothing but accumulated pain. What makes the story worth its struggle?

But if your arrow points forward to an unfolding destiny, a grand story of an eternal people and a world approaching its perfection, then every pain becomes the cracking of a shell, every struggle the shedding of a cocoon, as an olive releasing its oil to the press, a seedling breaking its path through rock and soil to reach the sun. What is the pain relative to the promise it holds?

And so Sarah looked back after 127 years, and all her days, even the darkest, the weariest, even those when she was held a prisoner in the depths of evil of Pharaoh’s palace—all were good and filled with beauty.

All the pain was worthwhile, truly pleasureful, to become who she was, the mother of us all.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 5, p. 92.