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Shabbat, July 14, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

On the 2nd and 3rd of Av in the year 5702 from creation (1942 CE), more than 13,000 Jews were rounded up by French police and interred in the Vel' d'Hiv, an indoor bicycle stadium in the center of Paris. They were later transported to Auschwitz to be killed. Within days, the Vel' d'Hiv was cleaned up and ready for recreation.

Laws and Customs

During the summer months, from the Shabbat after Passover until the Shabbat before Rosh Hashahah, we study a weekly chapter of the Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers ("Avot") each Shabbat afternoon; this week we study Chapter Two.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 2

During the “Nine Days" from Av 1st to the Ninth of Av, we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple. We abstain from meat and wine, music, haircutting, bathing for pleasure, and other joyous (and dangerous) activities. (The particular mourning customs vary from community to community, so consult a competent halachic authority for details.)

Consumption of meat and wine is permitted on Shabbat, or at a seudat mitzvah (obligatory festive meal celebrating the fulfillment of certain mitzvot) such as a brit (circumcision), or a siyum celebrating the completion of a course of Torah study (i.e., a complete Talmudic tractate). The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory initiated the custom of conducting or participating in a siyum on each of the Nine Days (even if one does not avail oneself of the dispensation to eat meat).

Citing the verse "Zion shall be redeemed with mishpat [Torah] and its returnees with tzedakah," (Isaiah 1:27) the Rebbe urged that we increase in Torah study (particularly the study of the laws of the Holy Temple) and charity during this period.

Links:
Nine Days laws and customs
Daily live siyum broadcasts
Learn about the Holy Temple in Jerusalem

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.