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Shabbat, August 7, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

On this date, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, who supported and aided the Czar's army during the Napoleonic wars, was forced to flee his hometown from Napoleon's forces which were advancing through White Russia in their push toward Moscow. After five months of wanderings he arrived in the town of Pyena. There he fell ill and, weakened by the tribulations of his flight and the harsh Russian winter, passed away on the 24th of Tevet, 5573 (1812).

Links: The Rebbe vs Napoleon

R. Eliezer Zusia Portugal (1898–1982), the Skulener Rebbe, is best known for his superhuman efforts to rescue Jewish orphans and refugees in Eastern Europe before, during, and after World War II and his continuing support of them. He immigrated to the United States in 1960, after imprisonment in Rumania and international efforts to secure his release. He was renowned for his lengthy prayers and the beautiful tunes he composed.

Links: The Father of Orphans, The Extra Matzah

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 Sunday and Monday 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 Five.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 5

The mournful paragraph of Tzidkatecha Tzedek is omitted from the afternoon prayers.
Daily Thought

A gift is a gift, but a gift to one in need is an investment, a seed planted in the ground.

Hidden beneath the earth, a seed decays to nothingness. Yet out of that nothingness it unlocks the endless, transformative power of the earth: The power to reproduce.

The seed germinates. A delicate sprout breaks through the earth’s surface. In time, it will grow and mature to provide many thousands of fruits and seeds like itself. And that process will replicate itself, theoretically, ad infinitum.

A seed ignites the power of the earth, but a gift of kindness seeds the very ground of the cosmos—for out of Divine Kindness the universe emerged, of Kindness it is built, and with Kindness it is sustained and nourished.

And what are the fruits for those who seed kindness? G‑d’s kindness. Beyond infinite, yet here for you in this world.

Invest kindness in those who are in need. The fruits of your investment will be beyond wonder.

Igeret HaKodesh 8.