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Friday, November 5, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Rosh Chodesh Kislev
Jewish History

As per the Talmud, the month of Kislev marks the onset of the winter season in the Holy Land and is the third month of the "Season of the Rains."

Link: Winter

For the first time since suffering a major heart attack five weeks earlier, on the eve of Shemini Atzeret, the Rebbe left his office in 770 Eastern Parkway and returned to his home, signaling his recovery. Chassidim all over rejoiced at the good news.

From that day on, the Rebbe redoubled his efforts on behalf of the Jewish nation and all of humanity, and for the dissemination of Torah and chassidism. From then on, the first of Kislev is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing.

Link: Illness and Challenge (from the timeline "biography of ideas" in Therebbe.org).

Laws and Customs

Today is Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") for the month of Kislev.

Special portions are added to the daily prayers: Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited -- in its "partial" form -- following the Shacharit morning prayer, and the Yaaleh V'yavo prayer is added to the Amidah and to Grace After Meals; the additional Musaf prayer is said (when Rosh Chodesh is Shabbat, special additions are made to the Shabbat Musaf). Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Many have the custom to mark Rosh Chodesh with a festive meal and reduced work activity. The latter custom is prevalent amongst women, who have a special affinity with Rosh Chodesh -- the month being the feminine aspect of the Jewish Calendar.

Links: The 29th Day; The Lunar Files

Daily Thought

G‑d appeared to Abraham…but he looked up and saw that there were three men… (Genesis 18:2)

Abraham put aside his encounter with G‑d in order to greet his guests. From this we learn that hosting guests is so great that it takes priority over an encounter with G‑d. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah)

The three men that Abraham greeted and fed turned out to be angels.

Angels don’t eat or drink. Neither do they need a place to sleep. They only pretended to eat and drink out of respect for Abraham.

If so, what did Abraham accomplish? He served food to beings that never hunger and drinks to beings that never thirst. For this he walked out of a private audience with G‑d Himself?!

Aside from that, how can we learn from his example the greatness of caring for guests when in fact he provided his guests with nothing?

Yet indeed we learn more from this incident than any other.

We learn that the main ingredient of hosting guests is not the food, not the drink, not even the roof over their heads and a comfortable bed.

The crucial ingredient of hosting guests is to show them that you care.

And that, Abraham and Sarah exemplified to perfection.

Likutei Sichot vol. 25, p. 78.