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Shabbat, 21 Tevet, 5779

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Shimon, the second son of Jacob and Leah and the progenitor of the Israelite tribe of Shimon, was born on Tevet 21 (according to another opinion, on Tevet 28), of the year 2194 from creation (1567 BCE), nine years after Jacob's arrival in Charan.

Link: More on Shimon

On December 20 (21 Teves), 1691, strong earthquakes rattled the city of Ancona, Italy, causing numerous structures to collapse and placing its inhabitants in mortal danger. Miraculously, the Jewish quarter was spared, suffering the collapse of only one house. In commemoration of this event, the local Jewish community established that date as a day of celebration and song, while the previous day—20 Teves—would be marked yearly by fasting and charity (Or Boker, p. 48a).

Link: Is There a Blessing or Jewish Prayer for Earthquakes?

Daily Thought

They say the most profound darkness comes just before the dawn. The harshest oppression of our forefathers in Egypt came just before their liberation.

That was a coarse darkness of slavery of the body. Today it is a darkness of the soul, a deep slumber of the spirit of humankind. There are sparks of light, glimmerings of a sun that never shone before—but the darkness of night overwhelms all.

Yet the darkness of night comes only to set the stage for a new dawn.