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ב"ה
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Sunday, January 2, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

According to Rabbi Judah (cited in the Talmud, Bava Metzia 106b), Tevet 29 marks the end of winter. (As per Genesis 8:22, the year consists of six 2-month "seasons": seedtime, harvest, cold, heat, summer and winter.)

Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, known in recent years as "the eldest of the Kabbalists," in the Holy Land, was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1898. As a youth, he studied under the great "Ben Ish Chai" (Rabbi Yosef Chaim of  Baghdad, 1840-1913) and was regarded as an illu (prodigy) by the sages of the venerable Baghdad Jewish community. In 1922, Rabbi Yitzchak emigrated to the Holy Land and joined the ranks of the Jerusalem Kabbalists, even as he earned his living for many years as a bookbinder. Over the years his fame grew, and thousands flocked to him to receive his counsel and blessing.

Rabbi Kaduri passed away on the 29th of Tevet of 2006, age 108. Hundreds of thousands attended his funeral in Jerusalem.

Link: Visit by a Sephardic Leader

In 1793, Tripoli (in what is now Libya) fell under the rule of the cruel Ali Burghul, who took advantage of divisions within the local leadership to take control of the city. Burghul terrorized the city’s inhabitants—especially the Jews—with excessive taxes and unjust executions. Among those executed was the son of R. Abraham Khalfon, the head of the Jewish community.

In 1795, a local Jew helped negotiate an agreement between the opposing factions, and on 29 Teves they succeeded in driving Burghul out of the city. The community celebrated this day each year as a day of rejoicing, and would recite a special hymn recounting the miracle (printed in Se’u Zimrah, pp. 191ff.).

The community of Tripoli kept a similar date of rejoicing one week earlier, on 23 Teves, commemorating the date (in 1705) when a siege that had been placed on the city by the ruler of Tunisia was lifted.

Laws and Customs
Starting in the afternoon, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.
Daily Thought

The life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years, the years of the life of Sarah. (Genesis 23:1)

All of them were equally good. (Rashi)

In which direction does your life move?
To wherever you have placed its arrow.

When your arrow points forever backward, always blaming the present on the past and scripting the future accordingly, then there is nothing but accumulated pain. What makes the story worth its struggle?

But if your arrow points forward to an unfolding destiny, a grand story of an eternal people and a world approaching its perfection, then every pain becomes the cracking of a shell, every struggle the shedding of a cocoon, as an olive releasing its oil to the press, a seedling breaking its path through rock and soil to reach the sun. What is the pain relative to the promise it holds?

And so Sarah looked back after 127 years, and all her days, even the darkest, the weariest, even those when she was held a prisoner in the depths of evil of Pharaoh’s palace—all were good and filled with beauty.

All the pain was worthwhile, truly pleasureful, to become who she was, the mother of us all.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 5, p. 92.