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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

Look deeply and you will see that the Torah does not know of man and woman as separate beings.

Each act is performed once through a single body—a body that in our world may appear as two, but which the Torah sees as one.

On the contrary, for both to be assigned the same mitzvah would be redundant, for why should one half of the body do that which the other has already accomplished?

Just as a man fulfills the mitzvah to be fruitful and multiply through the agency of his female counterpart, so does a woman wrap tefillin or wear tzitzit on the body of her male counterpart.

For just as man and woman were first created as a single form, so too, before each soul descends below, they begin as one.

It may be at times that only half a soul must descend for its divine mission, while the other half waits patiently above. And when it will return, they will merge once again.

Sefer HaSichot 5751, pg. 84, citing Taamei Hamitzvot of Rabbi Isaac Luria on the command to be fruitful and multiply (Breishit).