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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

The founder of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), passed away on the eve of the 24th of Tevet, 5573, at approximately 10:30 pm, shortly after reciting the Havdalah prayer marking the end of the Shabbat. The Rebbe was in the village of Peyena, fleeing Napoleon's armies, which had swept through the Rebbe's hometown of Liadi three months earlier in their advance towards Moscow. He was in his 68th year at the time of his passing, and was succeeded by his son, Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch.

Link: The Life and Teachings of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi

A devastating earthquake struck northern Israel, killing four thousand Jews in Safed and between 700 to 1000 Jews in Tiberias. Many of the survivors migrated to Hebron, rejuvenating the developing Chabad community established there 10 years earlier by the second Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch.

One of the first hospitals in America under Jewish direction, Mount Sinai Hospital, was founded in New York on this date in 1852.

Daily Thought

The people of Sodom were very evil and sinful to G-d.(Genesis 13:13.)

They were souls of Tohu, desiring complete independence from one another. (Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch)

From a letter of the Rebbe to an Israeli professor:

You write that the geulah cannot be complete until “there will no longer be needy people upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 15:11) and all people will work collectively with shared responsibility so that there will be no distinctions of poor and rich.

I do not agree. Human nature is such that we only feel fully satisfied when we are able to help someone else. And that is only possible when one person is rich and another is poor.

Yet there is no contradiction here, and you are correct when you say that it really is unjust for society to be divided into those who have and those who have not.

You see, as explained in the teachings of Chassidut, every created being, as long as it behaves the way it was created to behave, not only receives, but also contributes to its environment.

The same here: If someone is a needy recipient in one aspect, that same person is a wealthy provider in some other aspect.

This truth is so universal, it extends to the ultimate extreme: Even when it comes to the Creator and Director of the Universe Himself, the Torah tells us, figuratively speaking, that He too is also sometimes a recipient, and not just a provider.

This is explained in works of Chassidut on the verse, “You yearn for the work of Your own hands.” In a certain way, we can say that the Creator yearns for His creations to make His presence tangible in His world.

Then there is the Chassidic commentary on the language of our sages, “Our service is needed above.” He has so chosen, after all, to rely on us small creatures to do His mitzvahs and thereby complete His creation.

—Igrot Kodesh, vol. 13, p. 234.

More on this: The Isolationists of Sodom and Gomorrah