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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Ezra, who led the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel after the Babylonian exile (423-353 BCE), oversaw the building of the Second Temple, canonized the 24 books of the Holy Scriptures ("bible") and, as head of the "Great Assembly" legislated a series of laws and practices (including formalized prayer) which left a strong imprint on Judaism to this very day, passed away on the 9th of Tevet of the year 3448 from creation (313 BCE -- exactly 1000 years after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai). The passing of Ezra marked the end of the "Era of Prophecy".

Links

Learn more about Ezra
Men of the Great Assembly

Alfred Dreyfus, a captain in the French Army, was falsely accused of treason, largely on account of his Jewish identity. On this date, he was formally stripped from his rank, following which he was deported to Devil’s Island, where he languished for over four years. The case and its aftermath, known as the Dreyfus Affair, served as a poignant reminder that despite modern promises of equality and progress, anti-Semitism was still prevalent and Jews were unable to fully integrate into European society.

Link: A Lesson from Grandpa Laban

After being found guilty of crimes against humanity, the evil Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was put to death. Hussein was responsible for the Kuwait invasion that sparked the First Gulf War, and subsequently launched tens of SCUD missiles against Israel.

Link: Purim Saddam

Daily Thought

“G‑d said to Jacob: Do not fear descending to Egypt…” (Genesis 46:3)

The pain is real. The fear is not.

The pain is real, because we are not in our true place. Nothing is in its true place. It is called exile. Exile of the soul.

The fear is not real—there is nothing to fear. Because no matter where we are, G‑d is there with us. For He is everywhere.

The only thing we have to fear is that we may no longer feel the pain. That we may imagine that this is our place after all.

For it is that pain of knowing we are in the wrong place that lifts us higher, beyond this place.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 30, p. 234.