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Friday, January 1, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1684, a group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who fled the Inquisition (see "Today in Jewish History" for Tevet 22) held a Rosh Hashanah service in New Amsterdam, thereby founding congregation Shearith Israel ("Remnant of Israel"). On this 17th of Tevet in 1728, the congregation purchased a lot in Lower Manhattan to erect the first synagogue in New York.

Rabbi Aaron Zelig ben Joel Feivush of Ostrog, Russia, author of Toldot Aaron, passed away on Tevet 17 of the year in 5515 from creation (1754).

Tevet 17 is also the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yaakov Wolf Krantz (1740-1804), the Maggid (preacher) of Dubna, particularly known for the parables (meshalim) he employed in his sermons and writings.

Daily Thought

The central theme of Yom Kippur is not repentance; it is forgiveness.

Repentance means regretting who you’ve become. Yom Kippur is a day on which you are embraced for who you truly are. 

You are a pure, divine soul. Today, you want to live that way. So you rid yourself of some unbecoming things you picked up on the road, and you return home, picking up some beautiful mitzvahs along the way.

On Yom Kippur you return home to the One who embraces you because you are who you are.