ב"ה
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Shabbat, August 13, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Sir Moses Montefiore was a religious philanthropist who worked tirelessly on behalf of his brethren worldwide, and especially in the Land of Israel. He dispensed large sums toward charitable causes and founded numerous establishments and institutions. Sir Montefiore traveled far and wide to visit Jewish communities and interceded on their behalf before rulers such as Queen Victoria, Czar Alexander the Second, the Ottoman Sultan, and the pope. He lived to the ripe old age of 100, passing away on 16 Menachem Av 5645 (1885).

Read a biography of Sir Montefiore: Sir Moses Montefiore

Laws and Customs

The Shabbat after the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Nachamu ("Shabbat of Consolation") after the opening words of the day's reading from the prophets ("haftara"). This is the first of the series of readings known as "The Seven of Consolation" read in the seven weeks from the Ninth of Av to Rosh Hashanah.

Links:
Seven Degrees of Consolation
Consolation
Shabbat Nachmu

During the summer months, from the Shabbat after Passover until the Shabbat before Rosh Hashahah, we study a weekly chapter of the Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers ("Avot") each Shabbat afternoon; this week we study Chapter Three.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 3

Daily Thought

The core of a Jew is wrapped up in the six words of the Sh'ma Israel.

Very roughly, and at great compromise to the richness of each word, it says, "A Jew must contemplate: G‑d—who is our G‑d—that G‑d is One."

Meaning: Not simply that there is only one G‑d, but that this oneness of G‑d is such that nothing—not the heavens, not the earth, and not even all the vast wonders they contain—nothing at all exists outside the perfect Oneness that transcends and encompasses all things.

But then, it only takes two Hebrew words to say that G‑d is one. Why do we need six?

Because at this point you must turn your ear inward. And from there you will hear that this Oneness is not a knowledge you learned from your teachers, discerned from your observations, or intuited out of your sense of wonder.

No—this sense of Oneness is yours because it is the furnace that burns within the powerhouse of your soul, the oxygen that breathes within every facet of your being, the unstoppable current that drives every movement of your life. It is within you, at your very core.

The knowledge, the tradition, the contemplation—all this is vital and necessary: To awaken within you that which you knew before you were born.

And so:

Sh'ma: Learn, contemplate, grasp, and then listen deep inside…

Yisrael:...innermost of my soul, for whom this is the absolute reality…

A-do-nai:...(focus when saying this name upon the written but unspeakable name of) the One who transcends time, space, and all dualities…

E-lo-hei-nu:...know that this is the very same One who breathes within the essence of my soul, who belongs to me more than anything possession I own, more than my hand and heart belong to me, granted to me as an irrevocable gift, and therefore I know that…

A-do-nai:...the power that sustains all being…

Echad:...is absolutely One. In the heavens above and on the earth below, there is nothing else.

Contemplate this, and how could you not be filled with love, with a yearning that consumes heart and soul, to bond with that Oneness in every mitzvah you do, every word of Torah you speak, every thought and every action of your day?

Likutei Torah, Drushim L’Rosh Hashanah 62d.