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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

When the crusaders captured Jerusalem during the First Crusade, the Jews of Jerusalem fled into a synagogue. The crusaders then set flame to the synagogue, burning alive all the Jewish men, women, and children who had taken refuge there. All Jews were barred from living in the city of Jerusalem for the following 88 years.

Link:

The Crusades

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

From a letter of the Rebbe to an Israeli professor:

You write that the geulah cannot be complete until “there will no longer be needy people upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 15:11) and all people will work collectively with shared responsibility so that there will be no distinctions of poor and rich.

I do not agree. Human nature is such that we only feel fully satisfied when we are able to help someone else. And that is only possible when one person is rich and another is poor.

Yet there is no contradiction here, and you are correct when you say that it really is unjust for society to be divided into those who have and those who have not.

You see, as explained in the teachings of Chassidut, every created being, as long as it behaves the way it was created to behave, not only receives, but also contributes to its environment.

The same here: If someone is a needy recipient in one aspect, that same person is a wealthy provider in some other aspect.

This truth is so universal, it extends to the ultimate extreme: Even when it comes to the Creator and Director of the Universe Himself, the Torah tells us, figuratively speaking, that He too is also sometimes a recipient, and not just a provider.

This is explained in works of Chassidut on the verse, “You yearn for the work of Your own hands.” In a certain way, we can say that the Creator yearns for His creations to make His presence tangible in His world.

Then there is the Chassidic commentary on the language of our sages, “Our service is needed above.” He has so chosen, after all, to rely on us small creatures to do His mitzvahs and thereby complete His creation.

—Igrot Kodesh, vol. 13, p. 234.

More on this: The Isolationists of Sodom and Gomorrah