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Monday, August 8, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In 1733, the Persian conqueror Nader Shah Afshar laid siege to Ottoman-held Baghdad. Knowing that Persian rule would not bode well for them, the Jewish community prayed for an Ottoman victory. On 11 Menachem Av, an Ottoman force led by Topal Osman Pasha drove away the Persian forces and the siege was lifted. The Jewish community commemorated this day each year, refraining from reciting the penitential prayers of tachanun.

R. Hillel of Paritch was one of the outstanding followers of the second and third Rebbes of Lubavitch, R. DovBer and R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn. He was an exceptional scholar and served as rabbi of Paritch and then of Babroisk. Additionally, he would make a yearly visit on behalf of the Rebbe to the Jewish colonies in the Kherson region, teaching them Chassidut and inspiring their residents to increase in their observance of the mitzvot.

R. Hillel was known for his scrupulous adherence to every detail of Jewish law. He authored Pelach Harimon, a collection of sermons on chassidic philosophy, and composed a number of heartfelt tunes sung often at farbrengens until today.

Links: The Prodigy Under the Bed, R. Hillel’s Promise, R. Mordechai Yoel’s Stories.

Hear a tune composed by R. Hillel: Nigun Dveikus

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.