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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After a successful landing on the moon’s surface, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on our celestial neighbor, on July 20, corresponding to the Hebrew date of 6 Menachem Av (after nightfall in eastern U.S.).

Links: Retaining Gravity on the Moon’s Surface, The Astronaut, Orbiting the Moon

Laws and Customs

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

This is life, all of it:

Sitting like a small child upon the shoulders of the Creator of heaven and earth as He carries us out of slavery in Egypt to eternal life in the Promised Land.

Everything along the journey is sweet and good, if we will only embrace it with love. Even the pain is good, a pain that cleanses body and soul as we rise to a place higher than our little minds can conceive.

And yes, even those paths we believe we’ve stumbled down by our own fault, He carries us tenderly through those as well, for they also lead us yet higher.

In return, all He asks is that we hold His hand tightly and do what needs to be done. And kvetch just a little less.

See Likutei Sichot, vol. 18, pg. 390 ff.