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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Nine Days
Jewish History

After nearly a month of fierce fighting inside Jerusalem (see "Today in Jewish History" for Tammuz 9), the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia broke through into the Temple compound, where they feasted and vandalized until the afternoon of Av 9, when they set the Holy Temple aflame.

Links: The Destruction of the Holy Temple

Laws and Customs

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

We are trees, living two lives at once.

One life breaking out through the dark soil into this world, struggling with all our might to rise yet higher, to answer the call of a distant sun. There we are laid bare to the fury of life’s storms, fuel to be consumed by its fires.

Then there are our roots, deep under the ground, unmoving and serene. They are our ancient mothers and fathers, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel, and Leah. Enlightened beings who lie within the very core of our souls.

For them, there is no storm, no struggle. There is only the One, the Infinite, for Whom all the cosmos with all its challenges are nothing more than a wondrous creation renewed every moment from the void. A miraculous story and a delight.

Our strength is from our bond with them. A bond that stretches over many thousands of years.

A bond that passes through an intricate network of finely tuned heavenly wisdom, weaved into our story as a people, delivered in packages of divine rituals and celebration.

With their nurture we will conquer the storm and revive ourselves after the fire. We will bring beauty to the world within which we were planted.