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Shabbat, January 18, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Shimon, the second son of Jacob and Leah and the progenitor of the Israelite tribe of Shimon, was born on Tevet 21 (according to another opinion, on Tevet 28), of the year 2194 from creation (1567 BCE), nine years after Jacob's arrival in Charan.

Link: More on Shimon

On December 20 (21 Teves), 1691, strong earthquakes rattled the city of Ancona, Italy, causing numerous structures to collapse and placing its inhabitants in mortal danger. Miraculously, the Jewish quarter was spared, suffering the collapse of only one house. In commemoration of this event, the local Jewish community established that date as a day of celebration and song, while the previous day—20 Teves—would be marked yearly by fasting and charity (Or Boker, p. 48a).

Link: Is There a Blessing or Jewish Prayer for Earthquakes?

Daily Thought

There are three forms of enlightened life:

One is life upon a wild beast. Only that the inner self is awake, and that innerness is joined by a great light from Above, so that eyes stay on the road, with mind, words and limbs working together to reach their destination.

There are many levels to this rung, but all are within the reach of every person.

Then there is a person in whom burns a holy fire of desire for the Oneness of the Infinite Light. With this fire, he overwhelms the fire of earthly passion, until it is diminished to no more than a faint flicker.

This again knows many levels, but all within the realm of the tzaddik—something not every person is meant to attain in this life.

There is also an ultimate point: Where the fire of earthly passion becomes itself a G‑dly force. Then there will not be any more darkness, for we will have revealed how all darkness shines.

This is the stage of a time to come, but it is being formed in the here and now, out of our struggle with that wild beast and the harnessing of its passions.