ב"ה
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Shabbat, August 5, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Every evening, the priest would kindle the seven lights of the menorah in the Holy Temple. Miraculously, although six of the seven candles would burn out, the western lamp would remain lit until the following evening. (See link below for the exact identity of the western lamp.)

During the reign of the idolatrous King Ahaz (father of the pious King Hezekiah), this miracle discontinued. The first time the western lamp was found to have extinguished was on 18 Menachem Av (or, according to other versions, 17 Menachem Av). (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 580:2)

Link: Spiritual Space

Sixty-seven Jewish men, women and children were slaughtered, and scores wounded, raped and maimed, by their Arab neighbors in the city of Hebron, who rioted for three days amid cries of "Slaughter the Jews." The killings began on Friday afternoon, 17 Av, and most of the victims lost their lives on Shabbat, 18 Av. The survivors were forced to evacuate to Jerusalem, and the ancient Jewish community of Hebron, which had lived in relative peace in the city for hundreds of years, was not revived until after Israel's capture of Hebron in the 1967 Six Day war.

Link: The Hebron Massacre

Laws and Customs

During the summer months, from the Shabbat after Passover until the Shabbat before Rosh Hashahah, we study a weekly chapter of the Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers ("Avot") each Shabbat afternoon; this week we study Chapter Four.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 4

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.