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Thursday, December 5, 2019
Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Jehoaikim, King of Judah, burnt a scroll dictated by the prophet Jeremiah and written by his disciple Baruch son of Neriah. This scroll was the book of Lamentations, and was written to forewarn the king of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem. (Jeremiah ch. 36. Megilat Taanit, perek ha’acharon. It should be noted that other sources provide alternate dates—see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 580:1 and Magen Avraham ad loc.)

Link: Jehoahaz and Jehoaikim

Death of Herod, King of Judea. Herod seized the rule from the Hasmoneans, after killing them all. Fearing that the rabbis would challenge his authority, he killed them all, leaving only Bava ben Buta. Later, out of remorse for his cruelty, he had the Holy Temple completely renovated.

Link: Herod the Great

Laws and Customs

Once a month, as the moon waxes in the sky, we recite a special blessing called Kiddush Levanah, "the sanctification of the moon," praising the Creator for His wondrous work we call astronomy.

Kiddush Levanah is recited after nightfall, usually on Saturday night. The blessing is concluded with songs and dancing, because our nation is likened to the moon—as it waxes and wanes, so have we throughout history. When we bless the moon, we renew our trust that very soon, the light of G‑d's presence will fill all the earth and our people will be redeemed from exile.

Though Kiddush Levanah can be recited as early as three days after the moon's rebirth, the kabbalah tells us it is best to wait a full week, till the seventh of the month. Once 15 days have passed, the moon begins to wane once more and the season for saying the blessing has passed.

Links:

Kiddush Levana: Sanctification of the Moon
Brief Guide to Kiddush Levanah: Thank G‑d for the Moon!

Tonight, starting with the Maariv evening prayers, we begin inserting a request for rain -- "v'ten tal u'matar" -- in the 9th blessing of the Amidah (in the Holy Land, the request for rain is inserted beginning on Cheshvan 7)

Links:
The Rainmaker Winter Rain

Daily Thought

Everything we see about us is but a reflection of that which is above.

A king in our world reflects dominion above.

The sweetness of a fruit reflects the sweetness of the wisdom above.

The form of the human body reflects the inner structure of the cosmos, so that each limb and organ parallels a particular divine force.

Each of these things descends from its G‑dly place into our material realm to take tangible form—so that we can grasp those G‑dly concepts from which they extend.

Even those inventions that arose only in the modern era were hidden all this time within the Creation, waiting for us to discover them and reconnect them with their G‑dly source and meaning.