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Shabbat, August 23, 2014

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

R. Yehoshua was one of the leading Polish scholars of his day, and was held in great reverence by his contemporaries. He led a Talmudic academy in Cracow which attracted many noteworthy disciples (such as R. Shabtai HaKohen, the Shach).

R. Yehoshua authored Maginei Shlomo, devoted to answering the difficulties raised by the Tosafist scholars against Rashi in his Talmud commentary. He also authored a collection of halachic responsa titled Pnei Yehoshua (not to be confused with the Talmudic commentary of the same name authored by his great-grandson, R. Yaakov Yehoshua [see entry for 14 Shevat]).

Laws and Customs

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim (“the Shabbat that blesses" the new month): a special prayer is recited blessing the Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") of the upcoming month of Elul, which falls on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Prior to the blessing, we announce the precise time of the molad, the "birth" of the new moon. See molad times.

It is a Chabad custom to recite the entire book of Psalms before morning prayers, and to conduct farbrengens (chassidic gatherings) in the course of the Shabbat.

Links: Shabbat Mevarchim; Tehillim (the Book of Psalms); The Farbrengen

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 Six.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 6

Daily Thought

When his people broke the deal and incurred divine wrath, Moses told G‑d, “Forgive them. And if You do not, erase me from Your book that You have written.”

Meaning: “I know You want to forgive them. You love them no matter what. You loved them before, when they had all but abandoned You in Egypt, and You love them now as well. It’s only this book that stands in the way. And if so, I want no part of such a book.”

It was then that G‑d wrote forgiveness into His book.

And so must we.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 21, pp. 173–180; ibid., vol. 9, pp. 237–242.