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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

G‑d appeared to Abraham…but he looked up and saw that there were three men… (Genesis 18:2)

Abraham put aside his encounter with G‑d in order to greet his guests. From this we learn that hosting guests is so great that it takes priority over an encounter with G‑d. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah)

The three men that Abraham greeted and fed turned out to be angels.

Angels don’t eat or drink. Neither do they need a place to sleep. They only pretended to eat and drink out of respect for Abraham.

If so, what did Abraham accomplish? He served food to beings that never hunger and drinks to beings that never thirst. For this he walked out of a private audience with G‑d Himself?!

Aside from that, how can we learn from his example the greatness of caring for guests when in fact he provided his guests with nothing?

Yet indeed we learn more from this incident than any other.

We learn that the main ingredient of hosting guests is not the food, not the drink, not even the roof over their heads and a comfortable bed.

The crucial ingredient of hosting guests is to show them that you care.

And that, Abraham and Sarah exemplified to perfection.

Likutei Sichot vol. 25, p. 78.