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Sunday, June 13, 2021

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

“Nothing bad descends from Above.” -R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi

In essence, all is good. There is nothing truly bad. In the Creator’s conception, every creature and everything that happens to every creature—all is sweet fruit from Eden.

But when that goodness emerges from G‑d’s thought and plays itself out on the stage of our earthly lives, it often looks really awful. Indeed, the most precious gifts of a lifetime tend to enter in the most life-disrupting ways.

Think of the screech that came out of your flute when you tried to play a high, sweet note. Or the jarring mess when you attempted a nice riff on your guitar. When you’re starting off, all the best stuff keeps coming out as noise.

In some faintly similar way, so too with life: The sweeter heaven’s blessings, the more they might taste like bitter curses.

Like well-intended words repeated in the wrong way to the wrong person at the wrong time—all context lost, all meaning completely inverted—so too, the warmest kisses from heaven can slap against your cheek like freezing rain.

Such is the order of heaven and earth in its present, unfinished stage. Ideas that look fantastic to the heavenly host make their landing here on earth with the most disastrous implementation. And it’s mostly because our world lacks a landing pad anywhere near large enough for such blinding conceptions.

The avenues of our hearts are too constricted, our neuropathways too tightly set and fixed. And our vision oh so strained that we can’t see beyond just the things we want and the acquirements that enslave us. Our entire world has simply not been tuned to receive divine goodness.

We inhabit a world of cacophony begging to be rearranged into music, words yearning to speak their true meaning, scenery just waiting to be moved into place—until all that occurs below will attain magnificent harmony with its origin above.

And how do we allow that to happen? Mostly by allowing ourselves to believe it’s already there.

You’ve likely heard the story of the recalcitrant child who turns out good because someone really believed in that kid. As art emerges from the hands of those who believe in art, kindness from hearts that believe in kindness, and science from minds who trust there is an explanation.

So too, a dark and bitter chapter of life is reframed into a higher context, redeemed, and revealed in all its glorious, delicious splendor by a soul that trusts that G‑d is good, and G‑d is One.

No matter how things may appear.

Open your mind, open your heart. Trust that all is good, and it will be good. Good beyond anything you could possibly imagine, but down to earth good.

Extracted from the last two lines of Igeret Hakodesh 11.