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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Chof Av
Jewish History

First printing of the Zohar, the fundamental work of the Kabbalah (Jewish esoteric and mystical teachings), authored by the Talmudic sage, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Links: The Kabbalah

Av 20 is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson (1878-1944), in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was Chief Rabbi of Yekaterinoslav (currently Dnepropetrovsk), and was arrested and exiled to Kazakhstan by the Stalinist regime as a result of his work to preserve Jewish life in the Soviet Union.

Links:
A Brief Biography
Rebbetzin Chana Scneerson's biography, which includes her account of her husband's heroism, arrest and passing.

Daily Thought

When Jewish people conclude a satisfying meal that includes bread, they say four blessings.

Why?

Because the Torah says, “When you eat and you’re satisfied, you should bless G‑d for the land He has given you.”

The last three blessings were composed in the Promised Land. But the first blessing was composed by Moses when manna appeared from heaven.

Now isn’t it strange that we say a blessing for bread from heaven after eating bread that comes from the earth?

Really, the blessing is not on the food itself. It’s on our satiation from the food.

That makes things yet more puzzling. Manna was a food that never left you satisfied—for two reasons: Because you could not see what you were eating, and because you couldn’t save any of it for the next day.

Why do we say a blessing composed for a food that left people unsatisfied to thank G‑d for a satisfying meal?

Because, as the rabbis say, “A full jar cannot hold anything. But an empty jar can hold everything.”

Those who see their income as a tangible asset, acquired and preserved by natural means, their possessions fill their lives so that they cannot see G‑d’s blessing.

But those who know that everything is always in G‑d’s hands, like manna from heaven, they are empty and ready to receive.

Whatever they have, they see it as a gift, a blessing, and they celebrate.

Torat Menachem Sefer Hamaamarim Melukat, vol. 4, pg. 186.