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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Fast of Tisha B'Av (postponed)
Jewish History

The Romans set the Temple aflame on the afternoon of Av 9 (see yesterday's Today in Jewish History and it continued to burn through Av 10. For this reasons, some of the mourning practices of the "Nine Days" are observed through the morning hours of Av 10 (see "Laws and Customs" below)

Arab terrorists exploded a bomb in the the Jewish community center (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 86 and wounding more than 300, in the most lethal attack against any diaspora Jewish community since the Holocaust.

Link: Terrorism

More than 8,500 Jewish residents were forcefully expelled from their homes in 25 towns and settlements in the Gaza Strip (including 16 settlements in the flourishing "Gush Katif" belt) and Northern Shomron in the summer of 2005, as part of the Israeli government's ill-fated "Disengagement Plan."

Av 10 was the deadline set by the governments for all Jews to leave their homes in these areas. Two days later, tens of thousands of soldiers and police officers began the forceful removal of the thousands who refused to leave willingly. The removal of all Jewish residents from Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip was completed by Av 17, and from Northern Samaria a day later. The army completed its withdrawal from these areas on the 8th of Elul, after bulldozing all the hundreds of homes and civic buildings in the settlements. The Jewish dead were disinterred and removed from the cemeteries. Only the synagogues were left standing.

The government's hopes that the "disengagement" would open "new opportunities" in relations with the Palestinian Arabs were bitterly disappointed. No sooner had the last Israeli soldiers departed from the Gaza Strip that Arab mobs began looting, desecrating and tourching the synagogues. The vacated settlements became the staging grounds for terrorist attacks against Israel, including the unremitting rocket fire on the nearby Israeli town of Sederot and the cities and settlements of the Western Negev.

Links: The Gaza "Disengagement"

Issachar, the son of Jacob and Leah, ninth of the Twelve Tribes, was born on 10 Menachem Av in Haran. He lived to the age of 122. The tribe of Issachar was well-known for their Torah scholarship, producing many members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court.

Link: The Torah-Business Partnership

Laws and Customs

Because of the holiness of Shabbat, the Fast of the Ninth of Av ("Tish'ah B'Av") is observed today, Av 10. The fast mourns the destruction of the Temple and the exile of Israel a--see "Today in Jewish History" for yesterday, Av 9.

For approximately 25 hours--from sundown on Saturday to nightfall Sunday evening--we abstain from eating and drinking, bathing, the wearing of leather footwear, and marital relations. It is customary to sit on the floor or a low seat until after mid-day. Torah study is restricted to laws of mourning, passages describing the destruction of the Temple, and the like. The tefillin are worn only during the afternoon Minchah prayers. (For more laws and customs see link below.)

Link: Laws of Tish'ah B'Av

Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Once a month, as the moon waxes in the sky, we recite a special blessing called Kiddush Levanah, "the sanctification of the moon," praising the Creator for His wondrous work we call astronomy.

Kiddush Levanah is recited after nightfall, usually on Saturday night. The blessing is concluded with songs and dancing, because our nation is likened to the moon—as it waxes and wanes, so have we throughout history. When we bless the moon, we renew our trust that very soon, the light of G‑d's presence will fill all the earth and our people will be redeemed from exile.

Though Kiddush Levanah can be recited as early as three days after the moon's rebirth, the kabbalah tells us it is best to wait a full week, till the seventh of the month. When sanctifying the moon of the month of Av, it is customary to wait till the night after Tishah B'Av.

Once 15 days have passed, the moon begins to wane once more and the season for saying the blessing has passed.

Links:

Brief Guide to Kiddush Levanah: Thank G‑d for the Moon!
More articles on Kiddush Levanah from our knowledgebase.

Daily Thought

Everything has its limits, even darkness.

In our eyes, darkness is the background, the default state, and any light and beauty plays upon it only as a visitor, an intruder upon the emptiness, eventually to fade back into the darkness by fault of entropy.

But the true background of being is pure light. Not the temporal light of the creation itself, but the light of its Creator that cannot be extinguished.

Even within each thing that exists now, its true being is that light. For all of time, and space, and the consciousness that fills it, all began with infinite light. It is the essence of every living being, of every subatomic particle in every dimension, of every thought in every world. And so each thing, at its absolute essence, desires to return to light.

The light of each thing will be uncovered and the darkness will have no chance, no place to hide. We will look back and it will never have been.

As the Midrash says,
“When the world was made, a limit was set
how long it will function in dimness.”

The universe is in exile. Its darkness is approaching its end.

מאמר קץ שם לחושך תשכ“ד