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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Rabbi Yitzchak HaLevi Herzog (1889-1959) was born in Łomża, Poland, and moved to the United Kingdom with his family in 1898. He served as rabbi of Belfast from 1916 to 1919 and was appointed rabbi of Dublin in 1919. He went on to serve as Chief Rabbi of Ireland between 1922 and 1936, after which he immigrated to Israel to succeed the late Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook as Chief Rabbi of Israel. He served as Chief Rabbi until his death in 1959. He authored numerous works including Divrei Yitzchak, an anthology of Talmudic discourses, and the halachic work Hechal Yitzchak.

Laws and Customs

During the Three Weeks, from 17th of Tamuz to the 9th of Av, we commemorate the conquest of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Holy Temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people.

Weddings and other joyful events are not held during this period; like mourners, we do not cut our hair, and various pleasurable activities are limited or proscribed. (The particular mourning customs vary from community to community, so consult a competent halachic authority for details.)

Citing the verse (Isaiah 1:27) "Zion shall be redeemed with mishpat [Torah] and its returnees with tzedakah," 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:
The Three Weeks

Daily Thought

How do you fix a place, a problem, a person—anything at all?

By rejecting the bad and embracing the good.

If so, you have two possible strategies:

You could focus on all that is bad, ugly and diseased, scraping it away and chasing it out, so that eventually all that’s left is pure and healthy.

Or you could focus on whatever is still healthy and functional, embracing it, fortifying it and using it for its true purpose, so that eventually the dark crust in which it was imprisoned simply falls away.

Certainly, both strategies are necessary, and both have their time and place. But where do you begin?

It depends. When the human soul shines bright and strong, with just a few details out of place—then you can focus on discarding whatever bad remains.

But when everything is a mess, when the soul lies in a deep coma, when darkness rules in every cell—then to attack the disease head-on could prove fatal. Then you have no choice but to seek out the precious sparks of life that have survived.

Those are the most precious jewels, those hidden at the bottom of a dark mine.