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ב"ה
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Friday, April 1, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Shortly before sundown on the 29th of Adar, G-d commanded Moses regarding the mitzvah of sanctifying the crescent new moon and establishing a lunar calendar. This is the first mitzvah the Jews were given as a nation.

Moses had difficulty envisaging the moon's appearance at the exact moment of its monthly rebirth. After the sun set, G-d showed Moses the crescent new moon of the new month of Nissan, showing him the precise dimensions of the moon at the moment the new month is to be consecrated.

For the generations that followed, each new month was ushered in when two witnesses testified before the Sanhedrin (rabbinic supreme court) that they had seen the molad, the new moon. In the 4th century CE, Hillel II foresaw that the Jews would no longer be able to follow a Sanhedrin-based calendar. So Hillel and his rabbinical court established the perpetual calendar which is followed today -- until Moshiach will come and reestablish the Sanhedrin.

Links::
Lunar Time
Rosh Chodesh
The Molad

A few months after its creation, Napoleon's "Sanhedrin" (rabbinical supreme court) was dissolved. The Sanhedrin was created to approve certain religious regulations requested by the French "Assembly of Notables." The regulations were designed to blur the distinction between Jews and non-Jews.

The rulings of this pseudo-Sanhedrin were never adopted by Jewish communities.

Link:: Napoleon Bonoparte

Laws and Customs
Starting in the afternoon, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.
Daily Thought

So it will be, on the heels of you listening to these judgments of Mine and doing them…that G‑d will love you, bless you, increase your numbers, bless the fruits of your womb and the fruits of your land, your grain, your wine, and your oil, the offspring of your animals and your wealth of sheep… (Deut. 7:12-13)

All mitzvahs can be distributed over a wide spectrum between two poles:

There are mitzvahs that we judge to be of practical utility, such as the prohibitions against theft and violence.

Torah calls these mishpatim —judgments —because they engage the discretionary judgment of our minds and hearts.

And then there are mitzvahs whose reasoning is entirely beyond us, even contradictory to our understanding. At this end of the spectrum, you’ll find laws of ritual impurity, most of the laws of forbidden foods, as well as many of the details of otherwise reasonable halachah.

Torah calls these chukim—from the word chakak, meaning “engraved in stone.” We do them as though they are simply built into our hardware, wired into the tough, desensitized skin of our heels.

There’s a beauty to chukim. They allow us to feel connected to something far beyond ourselves, an infinite G‑d who has brought us into His own unfathomable view of His creation and its purpose.

And there’s a hazard to mishpatim. When everything makes sense to us and serves us well, we easily become captives of our tiny reality-bubble and lose connection with the mystery and wonder beyond ourselves.

So Moses tells us to listen with our heels, to connect our minds to our inner hardware, to do mishpatim as chukim.

Because, in truth, every mitzvah, even a simple rule that we would have figured out on our own, is part of a covenant and connection that entirely transcends our limited reality.

And when we make that connection, wiring the most ultimately transcendental into our minds and our hearts and all the way to the tough skin of our heels, the universe follows in concert:

Infinite, divine love expresses itself not only in spiritual forms, but all the way down to the quantifiable physical world—in children, health and material wellbeing.