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Friday, July 19, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In the year 2448 from Creation (1313 BCE), Tammuz 16 was the 40th day following the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and the people of Israel wrongly expected Moses' return from the mountain (he would actually return on the following day). When their leader failed to return, they demanded from Aaron: "Make us a god that shall go before us". Hur (Moses' nephew, the son of Miriam and Caleb) tried to stop them and was killed by the mob. Aaron fashioned a calf of molten gold.

The Making of the Golden Calf (text of Exodus 32 with Rashi's commentary)
An anthology of Midrashim and Commentaries on the making of the Calf
The Day Before (on the deeper significance of Tammuz 16, from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe)
More on the Golden calf
See also "Today in Jewish History" for tomorrow, Tammuz 17.

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).