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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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3 Tammuz
Jewish History

On the third of Tammuz of the year 2488 from creation (1273 BCE), Joshua was leading the Jewish people in one of the battles to conquer the Land of Israel. Victory was imminent, but darkness was about to fall. "Sun," proclaimed Joshua, "be still at Giv'on; moon, at the Ayalon valley" (Joshua 10:12). The heavenly bodies acquiesced, halting their progress through the sky until Israel's armies brought the battle to its successful conclusion.

Links:
Three Natural Miracles The Book of Joshua

A great fire destroyed much of the town of Lubavitch, including the home of the third Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (the "Tzemach Tzeddek", 1789-1866) and many invaluable manuscripts of Chassidic teaching.

The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950), who was arrested on Sivan 15 of 1927 by agents of the GPU (soviet secret police) and the Yevsektzia ("Jewish section" of the Communist Party) for his work to preserve and disseminate Jewish learning and observance throughout the Soviet Empire. Held in the notorious Spalerno prison in Leningrad, he was repeatedly interrogated and beaten. Initially sentenced to death, international pressure compelled the Soviet regime to first commute the sentence to ten years hard labor in Siberia, and then to a three-year term of exile in Kostrama, a town in the interior of Russia.

On the 3rd of Tammuz, 18 days after his arrest, he was released from prison and allowed six hours at home before reporting to the Leningrad train station to embark on his exile. Many gathered at the station to see him off. Though he knew that there were GPU agents present, he spoke to the assembled crowd, encouraging all to persist in the very activities for which he had been arrested. "This," he proclaimed "all the nations of the world must know: Only our bodies were sent into exile and subjugated to alien rule; our souls were not given over into captivity and foreign rule. We must proclaim openly and before all that any matter affecting the Jewish religion, Torah, and its mitzvot and customs is not subject to the coercion of others. No one can impose his belief upon us, nor coerce us to conduct ourselves contrary to our beliefs!"

(On the 12th of Tammuz, after serving only nine days of his three year term, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak was informed that he was free to return home. Shortly thereafter, he was allowed to leave the Soviet Union and resettled in Riga, Latvia.)

Links:
Days of Light (the Rebbe's prison diary)
Three Natural Miracles

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory (b. 1902) passed away in the early morning hours of the 3rd of Tammuz, of the year 5754 from creation (1994). See today's Laws & Customs.

Links
The Ohel (the Rebbe's resting place)
Portal commemorating the Rebbe’s anniversary of passing
More on the 3rd of Tammuz
A brief biography of the Rebbe

Laws and Customs

Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidim observe the customs of the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) in accordance with the customs instituted by the Rebbe for the yahrtzeit of his father-in-law and predecessor, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950), following his passing on the 10th of Shevat in 1950.

Links:
A Letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe outlining his suggested observances for Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's first yahrtzeit.
More on Yahrtzeit

Daily Thought

True, our hearts are not in our hands. But our minds are: We can think about whatever we decide to think about. And therein lies our power.

The mind rules over the heart—not just as a rider rules over his horse, but in a much more intimate sense. For the mind is the father and the mother, the seed and the womb from which the attitudes of a person are born and then nurtured. The heart does no more than reflect the state of the mind—its turmoil, its resolution, its shallowness or its depth, its coarseness or its maturity.

This then must be the focus of the person who wishes to leave this world with more than he arrived: To engage his mind with all its intensity in thoughts that elevate and inspire, and push away with equal force any thought that drags down and holds back.

And to allow all that labor to pass through the channel from the mind to the heart and give birth to actual deeds.