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Four things to keep in mind today

צילום: פלאש90

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. Today, the 1st of Tevet, we continue to celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the new month, since Tevet is among those months where Rosh Chodesh lasts two days. When the Holy Temple stood, Rosh Chodesh was a joyful time and we celebrate it with festive additions to our prayers and special customs. Have a good month.
2. This evening we kindle the eighth and final Hanukkah candle (or oil lamp). Although we will not kindle a ninth candle tomorrow, our sages call upon us to bring the light of Hanukkah into the winter, to continue to add light not just as we have been doing to the menorah, but to each and every day that comes.
3. Among many Sephardic communities (Tunisia, Djerba, Libya, Morocco, and others), Rosh Chodesh Tevet has traditionally been celebrated as Eid Al-Banat or Girls' Day. On this occasion, according to custom, women would ask forgiveness from one another as on Yom Kippur and girls would hold community Bat Mitzvahs. To this day there are many customs that mark this Jewish womens' holiday.
4. Today we begin to read Vayigash, the Torah portion of the week. It is among the most emotional parashot in the Torah. After 22 years of no contact, and after so many wars between brothers in the book of Genesis, there is reconciliation between Yosef and his brothers. The book of Genesis ends with a united family that forms the foundation for the nation of Israel.
Shavua tov, chodesh tov, and happy Hanukkah.


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