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Monday, July 15, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Tammuz 12 is the birthday the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of Lubavitch (1880-1950). This is also the day on which he was liberated from exile to the Soviet gulag 47 years later (see below).

Links:
A short biography
More on Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch

On the 12th of Tammuz of 1927, the sixth Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, was officially granted release from his sentence of exile to Kastroma in the interior of Russia.

Twenty-seven days earlier, the Rebbe had been arrested by agents of the GPU and the Yevsektzia ("Jewish Section" of the Communist Party) for his activities to preserve Judaism throughout the Soviet empire and sentenced to death, G-d forbid. International pressure forced the Soviets to commute the sentence to exile and, subsequently, to release him completely. The actual release took place on Tammuz 13, and Tammuz 12-13 is celebrated as a "festival of liberation" by the Chabad-Lubavitch community.

Tammuz 12 is also Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's birthday (see above)

Links:
The Rebbe's Prison Diary
The Soviet war on Jewry

R. Jacob ben Asher, son of R. Asher ben Yechiel (the Rosh), was one of the most prominent Torah scholars in medieval Europe. His classic work on Jewish law, Arba’ah Turim (known also as Tur), covers every area of Jewish life (in the post-Temple era), presenting the various opinions of previous authorities along with the author’s own decisions. A host of commentaries were written on this work, including one by R. Yosef Caro and another by R. Moshe Isserlis. These two commentaries formed the basis for the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), the definitive guide to Jewish observance until today.

R. Jacob also authored a popular commentary on the Torah, uncovering layers of hidden meaning in the text by way of gematria (and other close analysis of the texts).

Link: Rabbi Jacob ben Asher

Laws and Customs
In Chabad practice, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted today.
Daily Thought

The last written work of the Rebbe before his stroke centered on the following thought. The Rebbe personally handed a copy to thousands of people. I believe it is a summary of who we are and what we must do:

Self-sacrifice in a land of freedom penetrates to the bone.

I saw men and women who sacrificed all they had to defy the religious persecution of the Bolshevik regime. They came to a land of freedom and comfort—where is their greatness now?

Then there is the child of that land of freedom and comfort, worshipping it, chasing after it—but inside he is crushed by the spiritual void. His inner being does not let him alone, the spark inside that cries, “This is not what I truly want! I don’t want this world! I don’t want any worlds! All I want is Him alone!”

This is the crushing of an olive for its oil. The oil spreads and penetrates every fiber of his being. His every faculty begins to burn. And there shines the source of light that can never be extinguished nor dimmed.

It is the light from which the messianic era is formed.