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Friday, March 8, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Chodesh Adar II
Jewish History

The 9th plague to strike the Egyptians for their refusal to release the Children of Israel from slavery -- a thick darkness that blanketed the land so that "no man saw his fellow, and no man could move from his place" (Exodus 10:23) -- commenced on the 1st of Adar, six weeks before the Exodus.

Link: More on The Plague of Darkness

The highly regarded Biblical commentator, Rabbi Avraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra (1089?-1164CE), passed away on Adar 1, 4924.

Link: The Shach

Adar 1 is also the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of the great Halachist Rabbi Shabtai Hakohen Katz (1621-1663?), author of the Siftei Cohen commentary on Rabbi Yosef Caro's Code of Jewish Law. He is known as "Shach" -- an acronym of the name of his work, which serves to this day as a primary source of Halachah (Jewish law).

Link: The Shach

Laws and Customs

Today is the second of the two Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") days for the month of "Adar II" (when a month has 30 days, both the last day of the month and the first day of the following month serve as the following month's Rosh Chodesh).

Special portions are added to the daily prayers: Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited -- in its "partial" form -- following the Shacharit morning prayer, and the Yaaleh V'yavo prayer is added to the Amidah and to Grace After Meals; the additional Musaf prayer is said (when Rosh Chodesh is Shabbat, special additions are made to the Shabbat Musaf). Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Many have the custom to mark Rosh Chodesh with a festive meal and reduced work activity. The latter custom is prevalent amongst women, who have a special affinity with Rosh Chodesh -- the month being the feminine aspect of the Jewish Calendar.

Links: The 29th Day; The Lunar Files

Daily Thought

There are many kinds of barriers:
Barriers between people.
Barriers that prevent you from doing good things.
Barriers of your own mind and your own hesitations.
Barriers from within and barriers from without.
There are barriers that exist simply because you are a limited being.

Joy breaks down all barriers.