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Shabbat, February 22, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Shekalim
Jewish History

Rabbi Alexander Sender Schorr was a direct descendant of Rabbi Yosef Bechor Schorr of Orleans, one of the most famous of the French Tosafists. At a young age he was already appointed Chief Justice of the Rabbinic Court in the town of Hovniv which is directly outside of Lviv, Ukraine.

He authored the classic work on the laws of ritual slaughter called Simlah Chadashah, as well as a deeper commentary on those laws called Tevu'ot Shor.

The Simlah Chadashah has been reprinted more than one hundred times, and is the most widely used book to learn the laws of shechitah (ritual slaughter). Rabbi Alexander Sender Schorr passed away in the town of Zhovkva on the 27th of Shevat in the year 5497 (1737).

Link: Shechitah: Ritual Slaughter

Laws and Customs

When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, each Jew contributed an annual half-shekel to the Temple. The 1st of Adar marked the beginning of the collection of the shekalim. In commemoration, the Torah reading of the Shabbat that falls on or before Adar 1 is supplemented with the verses (Exodus 30:11-16) that relate G-d's commandment to Moses regarding the first giving of the half-shekel.

"Parshat Shekalim" is the first of four special readings added during or immediately before the month of Adar (the other three being "Zachor", "Parah" and "Hachodesh")

Links: The Shekalim Reading with commentary; Partner; Tzedakah: Charity

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 the upcoming month of Adar, which falls on Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week.

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

The Rebbe describes the following as the central teaching of the Baal Shem Tov:

Not only the pirouettes of a leaf as it falls off a tree, the quivering of a blade of grass in the wind, each and every detail of existence brought into being, given life and directed every moment from Above

—but beyond that:
Every nuance is an essential component of a grand and G‑dly scheme, the gestalt of all those vital minutiae.
Every moment burns with the pulse of G‑d’s desire.

Meditate on this. And then think:
How much more so the details of my daily life.