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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Born in Jerusalem in 1689 (5449?), Yaakov Culi moved to Constantinople, Turkey, where he found adequate facilities and financial backing to publish the scholarly output of his learned grandfather, Rabbi Moses ibn Habib, including classics such as Get Pashut and Ezrat Nashim.

The brilliant young scholar quickly came to the attention of the chief rabbi of Constantinople, Yehuda Rosanes, the undisputed leader of Sephardic Jewry at the time, and he was appointed to the beth din (rabbinical court).

Upon the passing of Rosanes, Rabbi Yaakov edited and published his late teacher’s writings with his own additional glosses: Mishneh Lamelech on Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah and Perishat Derachim.

Toward the end of his own short life, Rabbi Culi began work on the Mea’am Loez, a compendium of rabbinic lore and commentary on all books of Scriptures. He wrote in Ladino, then the common language of the Sephardic diaspora.

Unfortunately, he never completed his project and passed away on 19th Av, 5492 (1732), having only completed the book Genesis and most of Exodus. However, subsequent scholars used his extensive notes to finish the work. Popular to this day, the Mea’am Loez has been translated into many languages, including Hebrew, English, and even Arabic.

Daily Thought

Much of what we know about nuclear energy can be applied to education:

  1. In normal times, it’s enough to tap into a student’s external energy. But in our times, as we approach a new era, we need to tap into the innermost, nuclear powers of the heart, mind and soul.
  2. Real change comes from within. The job of a teacher is only to trigger from time to time a chain reaction of growth and learning.
  3. The greatest challenge of harnessing nuclear energy: Once you start a nuclear chain reaction, you must stand by and moderate, so that the energy goes in the right direction. So too, a teacher’s connection to a student never ends.
  4. Nuclear reactors must pay back many times the investment. So too, every student pays back many times that which they have been given.
Paraphrase of a letter to Julius Stulman, dated October 11, 1948.