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Shabbat, August 10, 2024

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Nine Days
Jewish History

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After a successful landing on the moon’s surface, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on our celestial neighbor, on July 20, corresponding to the Hebrew date of 6 Menachem Av (after nightfall in eastern U.S.).

Links: Retaining Gravity on the Moon’s Surface, The Astronaut, Orbiting the Moon

Laws and Customs

The Shabbat before the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Chazon ("Shabbat of Vision") after the opening words of the day's reading from the prophets ("haftara"), which is the third of the series of readings known as "The Three of Rebuke." On this Shabbat, say the Chassidic masters, we are granted a vision of the Third Temple; we may not see it with our physical eyes, but our souls see it, and are empowered to break free of our present state of galut (exile and spiritual displacement) and bring about the Redemption and the rebuilding of the Temple.

Links:
The Holy Temple: an Anthology
Shabbat of Vision
About the "Three of Rebuke"
http://www.thethreeweeks.com

During the summer months, from the Shabbat after Passover until the Shabbat before Rosh Hashahah, we study a weekly chapter of the Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers ("Avot") each Shabbat afternoon; this week we study Chapter Three.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 3

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

“They are stronger than us.” —The spies.

“They meant to say that the people of the land are stronger than G‑d. So to speak, the homeowner can’t remove his own belongings from his home.”—Talmud, Sota 6b.

They saw the miracles in Egypt, they witnessed Pharaoh and his army drowning in the sea.
They ate manna from heaven and they heard the mighty voice of G‑d at Mount Sinai.
How could they imagine any people or any force in this world to be more powerful than the G‑d who created everything from nothing?

But the problem was that they had witnessed G‑d disrupting the natural order of things. They had yet to see Him play by the rules of the game.
They had witnessed a G‑d beyond all things, but had not yet seen that the same G‑d was also within all things.

And so now, when they were to enter the land themselves, as mortal beings with mortal powers, to conquer the land, plow the land, sow and harvest from the land by their own hands—

Now they said, “Only by an open miracle can we win. But here we are asked to win by natural means. That is not possible.”

If they had asked Moses, what would he have said?

That these laws of nature, they are nothing but G‑d's miracles in disguise, doing His will and concealing themselves within a weave of endless patterns.
Go out into the world and you will see: He created a world in which He can achieve anything He desires in any way He pleases.

And not only that, but He can do it through you.

Likutei Sichot, Vol. 4, pp. 1041-1047