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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

By order of King James I of Aragon (Spain), Nachmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, 1194-1270) was compelled to participate in a public debate, held in the king's presence, against the Jewish convert to Christianity, Pablo Christiani. His brilliant defense of Judaism and refutations of Christianity's claims served as the basis of many such future disputations through the generations.

Because his victory was an insult to the king's religion, Nachmanides was forced to flee Spain. He came to Jerusalem, where he found just a handful of Jewish families living in abject poverty, and revived the Jewish community there. The synagogue he built in the Old City is in use today, and is perhaps the oldest standing synagogue in the world.

On this date in 1940, the building at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York was purchased by Agudas Chassidei Chabad (the Chabad-Lubavitch community) to house the living quarters, study and office, Yeshivah, and synagogue of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950), who had arrived in New York (following his rescue from Nazi-occupied Warsaw) five months earlier. It also served as the headquarters of his son-in-law and successor, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, and continues to be the center of Chabad-Lubavitch's global network of institutions of Jewish education and outreach.

Daily Thought

Know as clear as day and contemplate this deeply, that He who emanates all into being is He who rules and judges this world. In the heavens above and on the earth below, there is nothing else. (Deut. 4:39)

The same G‑d who transcends all time and space is the same G‑d manifest in all the forces and fields of physics.

The same G‑d from whom all existence emerges is the same G‑d who conceals that truth from every conscious being, providing space for each one to be that which it is.

The same G‑d from whom all life extends is the same G‑d who restrains that energy, with kindness, so that finite creatures can exist, to the tiniest worm hiding in the bowels of the earth.

And when you know all this, and you contemplate it well…

…that the very substance of each thing is nothing more than an articulation of divine energy, that even time and space extend from Him at will, as do the very limitations and sense of existence of each creation, that darkness is His presence as much as light, hiddenness as is revelation, matter as is energy, somethingness as is nothingness, for He is both beyond and within each place, moment and thing…

…then you will know that there really is nothing else. Nothing else but the one G‑d.

As the Baal Shem Tov would say in simple, succinct form: Divine energy is all there is, and everything is divine energy.

Sha’ar Hayichud V’Ha-emunah, chapter six.