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Sunday, October 3, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

R. Yitzchak was a great-grandson of R. Shlomo Yitzchaki, the seminal Biblical and Talmudic commentator commonly known as Rashi. R. Yitzchak and his three uncles—R. Shmuel (Rashbam), R. Yaakov (Rabbeinu Tam), and R. Yitzchak (Rivam)—are among the earliest and most well-known Tosafists. Their comments and explanations, which appear on the outer margin of all classical prints of the Talmud, are vital to any serious student who wishes to properly understand the Talmud.

Link: The Tosafists

Laws and Customs

The Shabbat after Simchat Torah is Shabbat Bereishit -- "Shabbat of Beginning" -- the first Shabbat of the annual Torah reading cycle, on which the Torah section of Bereishit ("In the Beginning") is read.

The weekly Torah reading is what defines the Jewish week, serving as the guide and point of reference for the week's events, deeds and decisions; Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi called this "living with the times." Hence the theme and tone of this week is one of beginning and renewal, as we launch into yet another cycle of Torah life. The Rebbes of Chabad would say: "As one establishes oneself on Shabbat Bereishit, so goes the rest of the year."

Link: Beginnings

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim (“the Shabbat that blesses" the new month): a special prayer is recited blessing the Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") of the upcoming month of Cheshvan (also known as "MarCheshvan"), which falls on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Prior to the blessing, we announce the precise time of the molad, the "birth" of the new moon. See molad times.

It is a Chabad custom to recite the entire book of Psalms before morning prayers, and to conduct farbrengens (chassidic gatherings) in the course of the Shabbat.

Links: Shabbat Mevarchim; Tehillim (the Book of Psalms); The Farbrengen

Daily Thought

Joseph had two sons in Egypt. From their names, we learn how a human being can be successful in this world.

He named the first son Menasheh, which means to forget. Whenever Joseph called Menasheh, he remembered that this land was causing him to forget his true home and all that his father had taught him.

And so he never forgot.

He named his second son Ephraim, which means to be productive. Whenever Joseph called Ephraim, he remembered that he had a purpose to accomplish in Egypt, so that his family could eventually settle there in dignity and prosperity.

And so he was successful.

Just as the names of both sons were crucial to Joseph’s success, so too every human being must keep two memories awake at all times:

This material world is not your true place, for your soul descended into this body from a luminous, heavenly place.

And you are here for a purpose, to channel that heavenly light into this world.

Menasheh came first, but Ephraim, Jacob later told Joseph, was greater.

Because first you must remember that this is not your true place.

And only then will you remember to accomplish your true purpose, to bring this earthly world in harmony with that place from which you came.

Likutei Sichot, vol. 15, pg. 433.