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ב"ה
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Thursday, December 10, 2020

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 people who do many good things, but with pessimism—because to them the world is an inherently bad place. Since their good deeds have no life to them, who knows how long they can keep it up?

We must know that this world is not a dark, sinister jungle, but a garden. And not just any garden, but G‑d’s own pleasure garden, full of beauty, wonderful fruits and fragrances, a place where G‑d desires to be with all His essence.

If the taste to us is bitter, it is only because we must first peel away the outer shell to find the fruit inside.