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Friday, November 5, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Chodesh Kislev
Jewish History

As per the Talmud, the month of Kislev marks the onset of the winter season in the Holy Land and is the third month of the "Season of the Rains."

Link: Winter

For the first time since suffering a major heart attack five weeks earlier, on the eve of Shemini Atzeret, the Rebbe left his office in 770 Eastern Parkway and returned to his home, signaling his recovery. Chassidim all over rejoiced at the good news.

From that day on, the Rebbe redoubled his efforts on behalf of the Jewish nation and all of humanity, and for the dissemination of Torah and chassidism. From then on, the first of Kislev is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing.

Link: Illness and Challenge (from the timeline "biography of ideas" in Therebbe.org).

Laws and Customs

Today is Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") for the month of Kislev.

Special portions are added to the daily prayers: Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited -- in its "partial" form -- following the Shacharit morning prayer, and the Yaaleh V'yavo prayer is added to the Amidah and to Grace After Meals; the additional Musaf prayer is said (when Rosh Chodesh is Shabbat, special additions are made to the Shabbat Musaf). Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Many have the custom to mark Rosh Chodesh with a festive meal and reduced work activity. The latter custom is prevalent amongst women, who have a special affinity with Rosh Chodesh -- the month being the feminine aspect of the Jewish Calendar.

Links: The 29th Day; The Lunar Files

Daily Thought

At the outset of Creation, He removed all light. And that is the source of all that ever goes wrong.

Why did He remove the light? Why did He choose that things could go wrong?

Sometimes we say He wanted darkness as a black velvet setting, an empty space in which to shine a new light and make a world of light. The darkness, we say, is there for the sake of light, as pain exists for the sake of healing.

But this could not be the entire answer.

Why? Because darkness for the purpose of light is not complete darkness. In our world, we find evil that defies explanation, shirks all answers, offers no place for light to shine.

The entire answer must be that in Light alone, G‑d cannot be found. For He is beyond dark and light, presence and absence, being and not being.

And so, just as darkness exists for the sake of light, so light exists for the sake of darkness—to reveal its true purpose, to allow knowledge of a wholly transcendent G‑d to enter His world.

Which is what we accomplish when we withstand the challenge of darkness. When we choose light.