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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Moses was born in Egypt on the 7th of Adar of the year 2368 from creation (1393 BCE) and passed away on his 120th birthday -- Adar 7, 2488 (1273 BCE)

Links:
A brief biography
The Birth of a Leader
The Head
Moses Disappears
More on Moses

The Inquisition was created in the twelfth century to find "Christian heretics" who would be punished or killed. Eventually, Jews too were open to such charges of heresy, simply for being Jewish; and torture was routinely used to extract "confessions." Over the years, the inquisition, which operated with Papal consent, spread to many countries.

In 1481 the Inquisition began to function in Spain to expose the secret Jews, known as the Anusim or Marranos. This Inquisition was anti-Jewish more than in any previous countries. The first public sentencing and burning alive of six marrano men and one woman by the Spanish Inquisition was held on this date in Seville in Southern Spain.

Following the start of the Spanish Inquisition many Jews fled Spain (see "Today in Jewish History" for Sivan 4).

On December 12, 1941, the Struma ship set off from the port of Constanta, Romania, carrying 800 Jewish Romanian refugees headed for British Mandatory Palestine. The ship was detained at Istanbul, where British authorities refused to allow the ship to continue to its destination. On February 23, 1942, Turkish authorities towed the ship out to the Black Sea, where it drifted aimlessly due to a failed engine. The next day, the ship was sunk by a Soviet submarine. Only one passenger survived the horrific disaster.

Laws and Customs

The Chevrah Kadisha (Jewish Burial Societies) hold their annual get-together and feast on Adar 7th. This is based on the tradition that G-d Himself buried Moses on this day -- granting them a respite from their labors.

Once a month, as the moon waxes in the sky, we recite a special blessing called Kiddush Levanah, "the sanctification of the moon," praising the Creator for His wondrous work we call astronomy.

Kiddush Levanah is recited after nightfall, usually on Saturday night. The blessing is concluded with songs and dancing, because our nation is likened to the moon—as it waxes and wanes, so have we throughout history. When we bless the moon, we renew our trust that very soon, the light of G‑d's presence will fill all the earth and our people will be redeemed from exile.

Though Kiddush Levanah can be recited as early as three days after the moon's rebirth, the kabbalah tells us it is best to wait a full week, till the seventh of the month. Once 15 days have passed, the moon begins to wane once more and the season for saying the blessing has passed.

Links:

Kiddush Levana: Sanctification of the Moon
Brief Guide to Kiddush Levanah: Thank G‑d for the Moon!

Daily Thought

We all suffer a maddening delusion of being something separate from G‑d. The delusion of “I.”

We cannot heal it, because yes, we exist, for He created us.

We cannot live with it, because this chilling notion of otherness is a denial of the truth.

But we can resolve it in the act of learning Torah. In learning Torah, He speaks with us. If there were no other, with whom would He speak?

We can resolve it in prayer. In prayer, we speak with Him. If there were no other, who would speak with Him?

We can resolve it in every mitzvah. Through every mitzvah, we become one with Him. If there were no other, two would not become one.

Now the reality of our otherness is no longer simply a delusion, but a treasured artifact of a divine desire: that two should become one.

As Adam, the primal human, said, “This ‘I’ was created to serve its Creator.”

ליל שמח״ת תשנ״ב ע׳ 39. ש״פ משפטים, פ׳ שקלים, תש״נ הע׳ 62. וראה גם כל הענין בפנים. (ח״א ע׳ 304).