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Shabbat, March 2, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Shekalim
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 II, which occurs next Thursday and Friday.

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

Carrying a burden of guilt and inadequacy, you’re not going to be too happy. And where did you pick up that load? From a delusion that you are meant to be perfect.

If you were meant to be perfect, your soul would have remained in its heavenly womb. But no, here you are on earth, a divine soul that has infiltrated across the boundary of worlds, compressed itself into a body of meat and blood, wrestling each day with the biochemistry of an upright animal, struggling to bring some light into a cold and dark world, to squeeze even a single moment of pure goodness out of the beast
—for even one altruistic moment in an entire lifetime makes it all worthwhile.

From your every small victory, the world is transformed. The heavenly angels glow in admiration, for this is a feat even the highest of them could never achieve. G-d Himself laughs and says, “See what my child has done with the world I have made! For this I brought the universe into being!”

Whatever good you’ve managed to squeeze out of your time on earth, discard your worries and cherish that. If the One who made you celebrates, so should you.