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Wednesday, 20 Kislev, 5782

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Chof Kislev - "Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism"
Jewish History

Ezra, head of the Sanhedrin and the leader of the Jewish people at the time of the building of the Second Temple, made an historic address to a three-day assemblage of Jews in Jerusalem, exhorting them to adhere to the teachings of the Torah and to dissolve their interfaith marriages (the Jewish people were on the verge of complete assimilation at the time, following their 70-year exile in Babylonia).

Links: On Intermarriage

The first printing of the "bible of Chassidism", the Tanya, the magnum opus of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad.

Links: The Longer Shorter Way; Lessons in Tanya (includes an English translation of the Hebrew text plus explanatory commentary in English)

Laws and Customs

The Rosh Hashanah ("new year") of Chassidism, marking the liberation of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi and the subsequent blossoming of Chabad Chassidism, is celebrated for two days, Kislev 19-20. (The Rebbe was released from prison on the 19th, but his full freedom was only obtained late in the evening -- Kislev 20 on the Jewish Calendar.) The two days are celebrated with farbrengens (Chassidic gatherings) and an increased commitment to the ways and teachings of Chassidism. Tachnun (supplication) and similar prayers are omitted. For more information and links, see entries for yesterday Kislev 19.

In Chabad practice, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted today.
Daily Thought

And Joseph was taken down to Egypt. (Genesis 39:1)

The word for “taken down” in this verse is הורד. That could also mean that he became the dominant force there, as the same word is used concerning the Moshiach, “And he will dominate from sea to sea.…”

And indeed, Joseph became the ruler of Egypt. (Midrash)

You are Joseph.

Your soul descended into a world that overwhelms you with its bigness, its coldness, and its apathy to change.

It’s only natural to feel that you have been sold as a slave, or even surrendered as a prisoner. That you are no more than a victim of circumstances.

Yet the reality is that your descent into this body in this world was carefully planned in the heavens.

That, as you descend, you are empowered to rule.

To make change from within—which is the only lasting change. To make of this world a Moshiach kind of world, a world that recognizes the divine wisdom it contains is, after all, an inside job.

What is your strategy?

Do the same as Joseph: Wherever G‑d has planned for you to be, whether managing a home, sitting in a prison cell, or strategizing a plan to head off an environmental crisis, do your job as a proud Jew, with integrity, with lots of mitzvahs, and with G‑d’s name on your lips.

Then, as Joseph, in all you do you will succeed.

Likutei Sichot vol. 25, pg. 194.