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Monday, November 8, 2021

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

There is a beast inside. It awaits a human soul to tame it.

Start with meditation and prayer, because that beast inside needs to experience something beyond itself.

But in prayer and meditation you have not yet met that beast on its own ground.

So next, eat your breakfast like a human being is meant to eat—a step higher than the food you consume, raising it up rather than letting it pull you down.

Then, yes, you have met your human beast on its own ground. But not on its own terms. You are still fighting against its desire to be pulled down into its food.

So then go out into the world and provide goods and services of value, and do that with integrity. At this point, the beast says, “You’re on my territory now, and on my terms, Mr. Soul. I’m the one who knows this game.”

Now you can no longer fight against the human beast. You have to work from within it, with all the talents and skills it has. Because if you don’t, you won’t be providing the value for which others are paying. And that is not integrity.

That is why the very first question asked of the soul when it returns from its mission in this world is not “Did you pray?” but “Did you do business with integrity?”

For that is when you truly made your dent in this vicious world.

Padah B’Shalom 5739.