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Monday, August 1, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Nine Days
Jewish History

R. Menachem Azariah of Fano, Italy, was a famed Talmudic scholar and kabbalist. A prolific author, he composed numerous works in both kabbalah and Jewish law, the most famous of which is Asarah Maamaros, a collection of kabbalistic treatises. Additionally, he used his wealth to obtain and publish the works of other great sages (such as R. Yosef Caro’s Kessef Mishneh).

R. Menachem Azariah was a devoted follower of the great kabbalist R. Moshe Cordovero, whom he also lent financial support. Later, he was introduced to the kabbalistic doctrines of R. Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal), which he embraced wholeheartedly as well.

Link: Rabbi Menachem Azariah de Fano

Laws and Customs

During the “Nine Days" from Av 1st to the Ninth of Av, we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple. We abstain from meat and wine, music, haircutting, bathing for pleasure, and other joyous (and dangerous) activities. (The particular mourning customs vary from community to community, so consult a competent halachic authority for details.)

Consumption of meat and wine is permitted on Shabbat, or at a seudat mitzvah (obligatory festive meal celebrating the fulfillment of certain mitzvot) such as a brit (circumcision), or a siyum celebrating the completion of a course of Torah study (i.e., a complete Talmudic tractate). The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory initiated the custom of conducting or participating in a siyum on each of the Nine Days (even if one does not avail oneself of the dispensation to eat meat).

Citing the verse "Zion shall be redeemed with mishpat [Torah] and its returnees with tzedakah," (Isaiah 1:27) the Rebbe urged that we increase in Torah study (particularly the study of the laws of the Holy Temple) and charity during this period.

Links:
Nine Days laws and customs
Daily live siyum broadcasts
Learn about the Holy Temple in Jerusalem

Daily Thought

The Torah describes four ways you might be responsible for another person’s property: You might be a borrower, a renter, a paid custodian, or an unpaid custodian.

The borrower has near-total liability. The renter and the paid custodian are liable only in cases of negligence. An unpaid custodian is only liable if he abandons his duties or uses the property for himself.

These are the four options you have when entrusted with a life on Planet Earth:

You could take it as just borrowed time to do whatever you like with life and the planet.

Your Maker will say, “Fine, have it your way. I’m not involved, and any damage is your responsibility.”

Just as a borrower takes upon himself all liability.

Or you could work out a contract with your Maker, as in, “You do this for me and I’ll do that for you.” You could be either a renter or a paid custodian.

Your Maker will say, “It’s a deal. I’ll help you out. But if you don’t keep your half of the deal, I won’t be able to keep Mine.”

Just as a renter or a paid custodian takes partial responsibility.

Or you could recognize that all you have belongs to the One Above and your entire life’s meaning is as His agent.

You are the unpaid, faithful steward of life. You do whatever you can, and He will take complete responsibility for all your needs and all your life.

Likutei Sichot vol. 31, pg. 112, as per Shnei Luchot HaBrit.