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Monday, November 12, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

A delegation from Babylonia put forth a query to the prophet Zechariah, asking whether the fast of the Ninth of Av was still in effect, now that the Second Temple had been built. In response, Zechariah transmitted G‑d’s message that it was not fasting that was most important, but to uphold justice, truth, kindness and compassion.

Zechariah also foretold what will occur to the fast days in the Messianic era: “So says the L‑rd of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month [the seventeenth of Tammuz], the fast of the fifth month [the ninth of Av], the fast of the seventh month [the third of Tishrei], and the fast of the tenth month [the tenth of Teves] will be to the House of Judah for rejoicing, happiness, and festivals.” (Zechariah 7–8)

After a three-month-long unsuccessful battle and siege waged by Suleiman Pasha, governor of Damascus, against the sheikh of Tiberias, the governor finally left the city. To mark their salvation and the numerous miracles that had occurred throughout the siege, the Jews of Tiberias, led by the venerable R. Chaim Abulafia (1660–1744), established this date as a yearly festival of rejoicing and praise to G‑d. (Yalkut Me’am Lo’ez, Esther 9:28)

Daily Thought

Entering within, there are two paths of healing before you: From the top down, or from the ground up.

Working top-down, you see nothing but good, you do nothing but kindness, and you spread wisdom and light everywhere. The divine, lost sparks are drawn to you as to a magnet, leaping into the fire of their own accord, consumed in totality.

The transformation you achieve is astounding. But it does not last. The sparks dance only to the light of your fire; as soon as it begins to fade, they fall back to their places. Nothing has really changed. The darkness returns, perhaps yet more powerful from your nurture.

Working from the ground up, you enter within the world that holds those sparks in captivity and become part of it.

You do not ignore the beast within you; you recognize it, speak with it, eventually convincing it to look up to the heavens and realize that it is not the sum total of all that is.

You do not ignore the world around you; you deal with it head-on, on its own terms. Only that “all your deeds are for the sake of heaven,” and “in all your ways, you know Him.”

This transformation is real and lasting, because it comes from within.

Maamar Padah B’Shalom 5722 (also 5659, 5704, 5712); Maamar Vayakhel 5714.