Warm thoughts for a cold night: No matter how chilly outside, man has the capacity to warm his environment and thaw the frost. The cold – and high air pressure – tends to wake us up and keep us crisp and fresh; it reddens our cheeks, pumps up our circulation and keeps us on our toes.
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R’ Raphael said: “Let there be peace within yourself first, then peace in your home. Let there be peace with your neighbours, peace in your street and in your town. Then let there be peace in your country and in the whole world”.*
*“Women’s Spirituality for Peace: A Jewish Woman’s Perspective,” by Rebekah Gronowski (C)
A congregation in an old synagogue located in the Bronx has a problem. One member group says: “When you come to this portion of the service, you have to stand up.” The other group says that when you come to the same part of the service, you should sit down. In their exasperation, they go to the old Rebbe for adjudication.The representative of the first group says to the Rebbe: “I believe that when we come to this portion of the service we should stand up. Tell us what to do.” The Rebbe strokes his beard, shakes his head and says, “I can’t remember, I can’t remember, the way it was…”Two weeks pass and the other side, frustrated, also goes to the Rebbe and seeks advice: “Rebbe, Rebbe we believe that the first group is wrong. We believe that at that point in the service we should sit down. Tell us what shall we do.” The Rebbe looks at the man, strokes his beard again and says: “I can’t remember, I can’t remember, the way it was…”Another two weeks pass and the groups become very belligerent and are shouting, screaming and yelling at each other in their exasperation. Both sides decide to go to the Rebbe and tell him: “Rebbe, Rebbe, things are getting out of hand. We are shouting, screaming and yelling at each other, jumping at each other’s throats, please tell us how it was!” The Rebbe’s face lights up and he says with a flowing smile: “Yes, that’s the way it was! That’s the way it was!”
After the Torah reading we recite the special additional Musaf prayer for when Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat. It is appropriate to add an extra dish to the Shabbat meals in honor of Rosh Chodesh.
Shevat is the eleventh month of Jewish year. Corresponding permutation of the Tetragrammaton: KYVK deriving from the initial Hebrew letters of Leviticus 27:33, Homer Yemirenu Vehayah Hu, "…if he shall surely change it, then it shall be…" Corresponding letter of Aleph-Beis: Tzadi; Constellation: D’li (Aquarius, the Water Carrier); Body part: Korkevan=Stomach (Sefer Yetzirah).
"Even though Israel has no MAZAL (constellation), D’LI is Israel’s Mazal!"
The first day of Shevat is when Moses began his final discourses in Deuteronomy: "And in the fortieth year in the eleventh month on the first of the month Moses spoke to the children of Israel" (Deut. 1:3). The month of Shevat is therefore propitious for Torah study and understanding as signified by the sign of D’LI, a "bucket" pouring the waters of inspiration into the world.
According to the opinion of Beit Shammai, 1 Shevat is New Year of the Trees, although in practice we follow the opinion of Beit Hillel that this is observed on Tu BiShvat, 15 Shevat (Rosh Hashanah 2a). Start planning for Tu Bishvat, which will be on January 30!*
Sometimes one must gaze about here and there in order to cleave in thought to the Creator, may He be blessed. This is due to the gross physicality of one’s body, which is a barrier to the [light of the] soul. (Tzava’as HaRivash 80)
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