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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1843, the Interior Ministry of the Czarist government convened a rabbinical conference in the Russian capital of Petersburg, to the end of imposing changes in Jewish communal life and religious practice. Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789-1866, known as the "Tzemach Tzedek" after his Halachic works by that name) was invited; as a primary figure in the leadership of Russian Jewry, his compliance was required to lend legitimacy to the government's proposed "reforms". In the course of the conference, the Tzemach Tzeddek was placed under arrest no less than 22 (!) times for his refusal to cooperate. When he finally departed Petersburg on the 26th of Av, he had successfully prevented the government's disruption of traditional Jewish life.

Links:
A Brief Biography of the Tzemach Tzedek
More on the Tzemach Tzeddek

R. Yoel Teitelbaum was the founding rebbe of the Satmar chassidic dynasty, named after the town of Satmar (or Satu Mare) in what is today northwestern Romania. After World War II (see entry for 21 Kislev), he relocated to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he continued to lead his thousands of followers. He passed away on 26 Menachem Av, 5739 (1979).

Daily Thought

The Ari, the greatest of the kabbalists, taught that the prerequisite for the creation of the cosmos was a complete and utter withdrawal of the primordial infinite light. Only then could a finite trickle of light return to generate and sustain a universe.

All the light was withdrawn. There is no information, no revelation, no enlightenment, but for an infinitesimal afterglow attainable to those who toil for a lifetime.

But the origin of light, the essential core of reality—that was never withdrawn. It is always accessible, everywhere, at all times, to all beings, in all things.

What do we call that essential reality?

We call it “You.”

Torah Ohr, Parshat Vayera. Sefer Hakuntreisim Vol. II, pg. 592. See also P'lach Ha-Rimon of R. Hillel of Paritch, Parshat Vayera.