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Listen heavens,
And incline your ear, land: God has spoken,
“I have grown and raised children;
And they sin against Me.
An ox knows his owner.
A donkey knows his provider’s trough,
Israel does not know.
He does not contemplate.”
Therefor says the Master, God of Legions, the mighty One of Israel,
“Ah, I will be consoled from my foes:
I will take vengeance on my enemies.
I will return my hand on you, and refine your dross in a crucible,
I will remove all of your impurities.”

“I will bring back your judges like the early days,
And your advisors as at first.
Afterwards, you will be called
‘Righteous city, Faithful village.'”

“Zion will be redeemed through justice,
And those who return to her with judgement.”

Isaiah 1:2-3; 24-26


16 July in History
In 1782, first performance of Mozart’s opera The Abduction from the Seraglio. That year also marked the beginning of the relationship between Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte, the son of a Jewish convert who had trained as a priest. Together, they co-produced such classics as “The Marriage of Figaro”, “Don Giovanni” and “Cosi fan tutte”.

17 July in History
In 1862, legislation abolishing discrimination against the service of chaplains in the United States army became a law. This opened the door for Rabbis to officially serve in this capacity.

5 Av in History
Today marks the passing of Rabbi Isaac Luria Ashkenazi, known as Ari HaKadosh (“The Holy Lion”) passed away on the 5th of Av of the year 5332 from creation (1572 CE). Born in Jerusalem in 1534, he spent many years in secluded study near Cairo, Egypt. In 1570 he settled in Sefad, where he lived for two years until his passing at age 38. During that brief period, the Ari revolutionized the study of Kabbalah, and came to be universally regarded as one of the most important figures in Jewish mysticism. It was he who proclaimed, “In these times, we are allowed and duty-bound to reveal this wisdom,” opening the door to the integration of the teachings of Kabbalah–until then the province of a select few in each generation–into “mainstream” Judaism.

6 Av in History
Today is the Yahrzeit of Rav Yehoshua Greenwald, Av Beit Din (Head of Rabbinical court) of Chust. After suffering the horrors of World War II, he wrote that “strolling in beautiful gardens, looking at pleasing works of architecture, and being surrounded by beautiful objects, alleviate depression and expand one’s mind.”

He established a congregation for Chust Holocaust surviviors in Borough Park which his son-in-law Rabbi Pinchos Dovid Horowitz, eldest son of Levi Yitzchak Horowitz the Bostoner Rebbe, now leads.

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November 2020