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Shabbat, December 15, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

After the passing of the Baal Shem Tov on Shavuot 1760, R. Tzvi succeeded him as leader of the Chassidic movement. Exactly one year later, R. Tzvi announced to his disciples that his father had appeared to him in a vision and instructed him to transfer the leadership to R. Dovber, the Maggid of Mezeritch.

Link: Appointed as Maggid

Laws and Customs

Once a month, as the moon waxes in the sky, we recite a special blessing called Kiddush Levanah, "the sanctification of the moon," praising the Creator for His wondrous work we call astronomy.

Kiddush Levanah is recited after nightfall, usually on Saturday night. The blessing is concluded with songs and dancing, because our nation is likened to the moon—as it waxes and wanes, so have we throughout history. When we bless the moon, we renew our trust that very soon, the light of G‑d's presence will fill all the earth and our people will be redeemed from exile.

Though Kiddush Levanah can be recited as early as three days after the moon's rebirth, the kabbalah tells us it is best to wait a full week, till the seventh of the month. Once 15 days have passed, the moon begins to wane once more and the season for saying the blessing has passed.

Links:

Kiddush Levana: Sanctification of the Moon
Brief Guide to Kiddush Levanah: Thank G‑d for the Moon!

Daily Thought

The natural tendency is to treat matters of the spirit as luxury items—sort of an appendage to life.

Eating, sleeping, making money—these things are given priority and the time dedicated to them is sacrosanct.

But prayer, meditation and study fit in only when you feel like it, and are pushed aside on the slightest whim.

You’ve got to make your priorities faithful to your inner self. You’ve got to ask yourself if this is what your life is all about.

Set a schedule for exercising your soul as an athlete does for his body.

Treat those things as though they were your proprietary business. Because they are.