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Monday, March 14, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Rashi, the most basic commentary on the Torah, was printed for the first time, in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. In this print, the commentary on the Five Books of Moses, authored in the 11th century by Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, was not on the same page as the text of the Scriptures, as it is normally printed today.

This was the first time that the rounded Hebrew font was used, the font which has since become known as "Rashi Letters."

Links:
Rashi
Learn Torah With Rashi

Rabbi Yosef Rosen, known as the Rogatchover Gaon (Prodigy/Genius), passed away in Vienna on Thursday, March 5, 1936.

Rabbi Rosen, born in 1858, and raised in the Belarusian city of Rogatchov, served for decades as a rabbi in the Latvian city of Dvinsk (Daugavpils). He was an unparalleled genius, whose in depth understanding of all Talmudic literature left the greatest of scholars awestruck. He habitually demonstrated that many of the famous debates between the Talmudic sages have a singular thread and theme.

Rabbi Rosen authored tens of thousands of responsa on the Talmud and Jewish law. Many of them have been compiled in the set of volumes Tzafnat Paneach.

Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai, popularly known as the Chida, an acronym of his four names, was a master talmudist, kabbalist, decisor of halachah, historian, bibliophile and traveler, who raised funds on behalf of the Jews of the Holy Land. His prolific writings cover virtually every area of Jewish tradition, history and belief. Born in 1724 in Jerusalem, he studied under the greatest Sepharadic sages in the holy city, which teachings heavily influenced his prolific writings. His chronicles of his travels offer invaluable insights into Jewish life of his times, and his Torah teachings are studied until this day. Toward the end of his life, he settled in Livorno, where he passed away in 1806.

Link: The Chida

Laws and Customs

In Talmudic times, a special stipulation allowed for Jews living in small villages or hamlets to hear the reading of the Megillah (Book of Esther) on the Monday or Thursday before Purim -- the days when villagers would come to town because the courts were in session. Depending on the year's configuration, this meant that the Megillah could be read as early as the 11th of Adar or as late as the 15th -- but no earlier or later than these dates (Talmud, beginning of Tractate Megillah).

Link: The Book of Esther with commentary

Daily Thought

“Jacob! Your tents are so good!” (Balak 24:5)

Bilam was the most powerful shaman of all time. King Balak paid him handsomely to lay his curses on the Jewish people.

But when Bilam observed the Jewish people and saw that the openings of their tents did not face one another…

…meaning that they weren’t prodding into each other’s private lives, and neither were they putting their own lives on public display…

…then Bilam realized this was not a people he could curse.

Because when a society values and protects the inner life of its individuals it protects itself. It is a healthy, whole organism. The Divine Presence breathes within it. No illness can conquer it, no intruder can penetrate its borders.

See Likutei Sichot, vol. 13, pg. 78.