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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Tammuz 12 is the birthday the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of Lubavitch (1880-1950). This is also the day on which he was liberated from exile to the Soviet gulag 47 years later (see below).

Links:
A short biography
More on Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch

On the 12th of Tammuz of 1927, the sixth Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, was officially granted release from his sentence of exile to Kastroma in the interior of Russia.

Twenty-seven days earlier, the Rebbe had been arrested by agents of the GPU and the Yevsektzia ("Jewish Section" of the Communist Party) for his activities to preserve Judaism throughout the Soviet empire and sentenced to death, G-d forbid. International pressure forced the Soviets to commute the sentence to exile and, subsequently, to release him completely. The actual release took place on Tammuz 13, and Tammuz 12-13 is celebrated as a "festival of liberation" by the Chabad-Lubavitch community.

Tammuz 12 is also Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's birthday (see above)

Links:
The Rebbe's Prison Diary
The Soviet war on Jewry

R. Jacob ben Asher, son of R. Asher ben Yechiel (the Rosh), was one of the most prominent Torah scholars in medieval Europe. His classic work on Jewish law, Arba’ah Turim (known also as Tur), covers every area of Jewish life (in the post-Temple era), presenting the various opinions of previous authorities along with the author’s own decisions. A host of commentaries were written on this work, including one by R. Yosef Caro and another by R. Moshe Isserlis. These two commentaries formed the basis for the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), the definitive guide to Jewish observance until today.

R. Jacob also authored a popular commentary on the Torah, uncovering layers of hidden meaning in the text by way of gematria (and other close analysis of the texts).

Link: Rabbi Jacob ben Asher

Laws and Customs
In Chabad practice, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted today.
Daily Thought

When Jewish people conclude a satisfying meal that includes bread, they say four blessings.

Why?

Because the Torah says, “When you eat and you’re satisfied, you should bless G‑d for the land He has given you.”

The last three blessings were composed in the Promised Land. But the first blessing was composed by Moses when manna appeared from heaven.

Now isn’t it strange that we say a blessing for bread from heaven after eating bread that comes from the earth?

Really, the blessing is not on the food itself. It’s on our satiation from the food.

That makes things yet more puzzling. Manna was a food that never left you satisfied—for two reasons: Because you could not see what you were eating, and because you couldn’t save any of it for the next day.

Why do we say a blessing composed for a food that left people unsatisfied to thank G‑d for a satisfying meal?

Because, as the rabbis say, “A full jar cannot hold anything. But an empty jar can hold everything.”

Those who see their income as a tangible asset, acquired and preserved by natural means, their possessions fill their lives so that they cannot see G‑d’s blessing.

But those who know that everything is always in G‑d’s hands, like manna from heaven, they are empty and ready to receive.

Whatever they have, they see it as a gift, a blessing, and they celebrate.

Torat Menachem Sefer Hamaamarim Melukat, vol. 4, pg. 186.