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Thursday, December 23, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

The 19th of Tevet is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of American Jewish philanthropist Judah Touro (1775-1854).
Link: Judah Touro: Philantropist Par Excellence

R. Aryeh Leib Heller was the rabbi of the city of Stryi, in what is now Western Ukraine. His works—Ketzot Hachoshen, Avnei Milu’im, and Shav Shemateta—are known for their clear, logical analysis of Talmudic texts and ideas, and are staples that are studied in yeshivas throughout the world.

Daily Thought

There are two ways to read the stories of our forefathers.

You can read them as bygone events, as a series of ups and downs, elation and disappointment, victory and tragedy. Indeed, most often, the tragedy seems to overshadow the brief moments of elation.

But if you read them within the context the Torah sets for them, the context of a great vision of promise for the distant future, then every step along the way gains crucial meaning and vital purpose.

Then you see how our holy fathers and mothers were clearing the path for their offspring of many hundreds of years to come. They were building a glorious future with their tears, changing the world with their struggles.

So it is throughout Jewish history. Reading those annals with secular eyes and shortsighted vision, we Jews come out as persecuted victims.

But look back from the future of which we always dreamed—then not a drop of blood was spilled in futility, not a tear shed without profit, great profit.

Already, through all those ordeals, we have transformed the ethics and welfare of the entire world. And soon, very soon, it will be an entirely new world.

So it is within each of our lives. So much of life can appear as tragic failure, so much so that even the sages bemoan, “Better for man that he was never created.”

But viewed within the frame of our ultimate destiny, not a moment of any life is without purpose, and according to the pain is the reward.

For the pains we feel are the aching wounds of humanity’s soul, and from within humanity’s veins we are restoring life.

Likutei Sichot, vol. 5, pg. 57-67.