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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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

There are two possible channels by which to receive your livelihood, according to the perspective you take in life:

You could decide to become just another element of nature, chasing after your bread in the chaos, running the race of survival of the fittest.

And the fact is, you may even do well taking this route—in the short run. In the long run, however, your soul is being denied its nourishment, and your body, too, will never feel satisfied.

Or you could see your life as an intimate relationship with the Source of Life Above—as though all your livelihood was no more than manna from heaven, handed to you personally and lovingly straight from the hand of your G‑d and partner in all you do.

Then your main job is to keep the basket where your manna will fall sparkling clean, insuring that no one is being hurt or misled by your business. To spend the profits you are granted on spreading kindness in the world.

Maybe you’ll get rich this way. Maybe you won’t. But you will always be satisfied.