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Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1843, the Interior Ministry of the Czarist government convened a rabbinical conference in the Russian capital of Petersburg, to the end of imposing changes in Jewish communal life and religious practice. Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789-1866, known as the "Tzemach Tzedek" after his Halachic works by that name) was invited; as a primary figure in the leadership of Russian Jewry, his compliance was required to lend legitimacy to the government's proposed "reforms". In the course of the conference, the Tzemach Tzeddek was placed under arrest no less than 22 (!) times for his refusal to cooperate. When he finally departed Petersburg on the 26th of Av, he had successfully prevented the government's disruption of traditional Jewish life.

Links:
A Brief Biography of the Tzemach Tzedek
More on the Tzemach Tzeddek

R. Yoel Teitelbaum was the founding rebbe of the Satmar chassidic dynasty, named after the town of Satmar (or Satu Mare) in what is today northwestern Romania. After World War II (see entry for 21 Kislev), he relocated to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he continued to lead his thousands of followers. He passed away on 26 Menachem Av, 5739 (1979).

Daily Thought

At Sinai, we declared, “We will do and we will understand!”

Angels descended from heaven and placed two crowns upon our heads.

One crown for “We will do.” The other for “We will understand.”

But that’s puzzling.

We were wise to accept the Torah even before we understood, to preface “we will do” to “we will understand.” Because we knew well the One who was giving us this Torah.

That gives us one crown. And the other?

The other is the crown to understanding.

Because if what you know has nothing to do with how you live, then you know nothing.

But when you commit to carrying out all that you learn, then your learning bears fruit and your understanding soars to a whole new level.