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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Yud-Tes Kislev - "Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism"
Jewish History

Rabbi DovBer, known as "The Maggid of Mezeritch", was the disciple of, and successor to, the founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Rabbi DovBer led the Chassidic movement from 1761 until his passing on Kislev 19, 1772.

Links:
The Maggid's Passing

On the 19th of Kislev of the year 5559 from creation (1798), Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi -- a leading disciple of Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch (see previous entry) and the founder of Chabad Chassidism -- was released from his imprisonment in the Peter-Paul fortress in Petersburg, where he was held for 53 days on charges that his teachings threatened the imperial authority of the Czar. More than a personal liberation, this was a watershed event in the history of Chassidism heralding a new era in the revelation of the "inner soul" of Torah, and is celebrated to this day as "The Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism."

Links: About Kislev 19

On the very day that Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi was liberated from prison (see above), a granddaughter was born to him -- the daugher of his son Rabbi Dovber and his wife Rebbetzin Sheina. The girl was named Menuchah Rachel -- "Menuchah", meaning "tranquility" (Rachel was the name of a daughter of Rabbi Schneur Zalman who died in her youth).

In 1845, Rebbetzin Menuchah Rachel realized her lifelong desire to live in the Holy Land when she and her husband, Rabbi Yaakov Culi Slonim (d. 1857), led a contingent of Chassidim who settled in Hebron. Famed for her wisdom, piety and erudition, she served as the matriarch of the Chassidic community in Hebron until her passing in her 90th year in 1888.

Laws and Customs

Chassidim joyfully celebrate today and tomorrow as the Rosh Hashanah ("new year") of Chassidism (see "Today in Jewish History"), with farbrengens (Chassidic gatherings) and an increased commitment to the ways and teachings of Chassidism. Tachnun (supplication) and similar prayers are omitted. We begin anew the yearly cycle of the daily study of the Tanya, Rabbi Schneur Zalman's major Chassidic work (as part of the "Chitas" daily study program.)

Links: The Longer Shorter Way; Today's Tanya Lesson

In Chabad practice, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted today.
Daily Thought

At Sinai, we declared, “We will do and we will understand!”

Angels descended from heaven and placed two crowns upon our heads.

One crown for “We will do.” The other for “We will understand.”

But that’s puzzling.

We were wise to accept the Torah even before we understood, to preface “we will do” to “we will understand.” Because we knew well the One who was giving us this Torah.

That gives us one crown. And the other?

The other is the crown to understanding.

Because if what you know has nothing to do with how you live, then you know nothing.

But when you commit to carrying out all that you learn, then your learning bears fruit and your understanding soars to a whole new level.