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Shabbat, March 14, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Parah
Jewish History

When Governor of Georgia James Jackson resigned his post to serve as a US senator, the president of the Georgia Senate, David Emanuel, was sworn in as governor. March 3, 1801, was the first time that a Jewish person served as governor of a US state.

Emanuel served the remaining eight months of Jackson's term, but did not seek re-election, opting instead to retire from politics. In 1812, Georgia named a new county in his honor: "Emanuel County."

The inaugural edition of "The Jew," the first Jewish periodical in the United States, was published in March of 1823. It was published in New York City and edited by Solomon H. Jackson.

The subtitle of the paper was “Being a defence of Judaism against all adversaries, and particularly against the insidious attacks of Israel's Advocate.” Its major aim was to combat missionaries, and specifically "Israel's Advocate," a Christian conversionist periodical published at the same time.

The periodical was issued until March 1825.

The Jews of Sana’a, Yemen, were saved from a decree plotted against them by the king’s anti-Semitic ministers, in which they were accused of killing the grand prince. Yemenite Jewry celebrated this day each year with feasting and rejoicing.

Link: Purim Yemen

Laws and Customs

The Torah reading of Parah (Numbers 19) is added to the weekly reading. Parah details the laws of the "Red Heifer" and the process by which a person rendered ritually impure by contact with a dead body was purified.

(When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, every Jew had to be in a state of ritual purity in time for the bringing of the Passover offering in the Temple. Today, though we're unable to fulfill the Temple-related rituals in practice, we fulfill them spiritually by studying their laws in the Torah. Thus, we study and read the section of Parah in preparation for the upcoming festival of Passover.)

Links: The Parah reading with commentary
The Calf's Mother

Daily Thought

A mirror is simple. It has no shape or image of its own. If it did, it would not be able to reflect the image of other things. Simplicity is what makes a mirror a mirror.

The Infinite Light from which our world emerges is also a mirror—because it is simple. Relative to our world it is a formless nothingness. So simple and void, it feels to us as though we have no source at all.

So formless, it is able to reflect whatever form we choose to show it from below.

Try it. Celebrate and the heavens will celebrate with you. Look up with a smile and He will smile back at you.