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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In the first year of rule of Cyrus, the King of Persia, Jews were given permission to return to Israel and rebuild the Holy Temple. A group of Jews led by Zerubavel set out for Jerusalem and began working on the second Temple. However, the Cutheans falsely accused the Jews of plotting a rebellion against King Cyrus and were successful in halting the construction of the Holy Temple for the remainder of his reign and throughout the reign of Ahasuerus, his successor. Construction resumed in the second year of the reign of Darius, Ahasuerus's son, on the 24th of Kislev.

Laws and Customs

The eight-day festival of Chanukah begins tonight. In commemoration of the miracle of the oil (see "Today in Jewish History" for Kislev 25) we kindle the Chanukah lights -- oil lamps or candles -- each evening for eight days, increasing the number of lights each evening. Tonight, the first night of Chanukah, we kindle one light. (In the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall; this evening, then, commences the 1st day of Chanukah).

On the 1st night of Chanukah, we recite three blessings before lighting.

The lights—which ideally should be kindled soon after sunset—must burn for at least half an hour after nightfall. Learn more about the proper lighting time.

Links:

Text and Audio of the Menorah Blessings

How to Light the Menorah

For additional Chanukah observances, see Laws & Customs for tomorrow, Kislev 25

Daily Thought

There are times to bend like a reed in the wind.
And there are times to act as a stubborn wall against the tide.

There are things that lie at the periphery of life. Then every “I hold like this” and “my opinion is . . .” stands in the way of harmony and peace. Every such “I” is the very root and source of evil.

But when it comes to matters that touch the purpose for which you were placed in this world, that’s when you have to be that immovable wall. That’s when you have to say, “On this, I‘m not going to budge.”

That “I,” that’s not evil. That‘s an “I” fulfilling the purpose for which you were given an “I.”

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 22, pp. 159–163; Behar–Bechukotai 5737:34.