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Shabbat, December 1, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

As the “Black Death” plague decimated Europe, Christians accused the Jews of causing the plague by poisoning the wells in an effort to wipe out the Gentile population.

On the 23rd of Kislev 5109 (Nov. 15, 1348), Rudolph of Oron, bailiff of Lausanne, sent a letter to the mayor of Strasburg informing him that certain Jews of Lausanne had “confessed” under torture that they together with their coreligionists had poisoned all the wells in the Rhine valley. This resulted in the masses persecuting and killing tens of thousands of Jews throughout Europe.

Links: Overview of Christian Anti-Semitism

Laws and Customs

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim ("the Shabbat that blesses" the new month): a special prayer is recited blessing the Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") of upcoming month of Tevet, which falls on next Shabbat and the following Sunday.

Prior to the blessing, we announce the precise time of the molad, the "birth" of the new moon. See molad times.

It is a Chabad custom to recite the entire book of Psalms before morning prayers, and to conduct farbrengens (chassidic gatherings) in the course of the Shabbat.

Links: Shabbat Mevarchim; Tehillim (the Book of Psalms); The Farbrengen

Daily Thought

In the beginning, G‑d spoke. And whatever He spoke crystallized into material form.

But what about that which He did not speak?

Those waited for the human mind to bring them into being.

When the human being first harnessed fire and bred animals and crops, he simply acted out a divine unspoken thought. The same with those inventors who developed the steam engine, the electric turbine, the radio, and the digital computer. Each creation makes its appearance at the appropriate time, all as choreographed from the beginning of time.

All that G‑d made, He made only for His glory, including these. They too, are vitalized by a spark of the divine. And it is up to us to liberate that spark and reconnect it to its origin, as it is found in the context of the Creator’s original plan.

Likutei Sichot, volume 15, page 45ff.