“There is love like fire, and there is love like water.”— The Baal haTanya
24 Tevet: Yehrzeit of the Baal haTanya:
Today is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shneur Zalman (ben Baruch) of Liadi (1745-1812). He displayed extraordinary talent while still a child, but his most lasting accomplishments can be learned out from the many names he is known by which highlight his incredible contributions to the Jewish people.
He is perhaps most popularly known as the “Baal haTanya” which means the “master of the Tanya.” This was a book the Rabbi published that became a foundation of Chasidic philosophy, psychology, and theology, especially in Chabad.
Chabad is a Chasidic movement named after the sefirot of Chochma (wisdom), Bina (comprehension), and Da’at (knowledge). Ask your local Chabad Rabbi more about that.
That brings us to another well-known name, the “Alter Rebbe,” which means the “older Rebbe,” signifying his place at the beginning of the Chabad dynasty of seven Rabbis.
It is possible one of his most lasting teachings is how just a bit of light can get rid of so much darkness.
This Week’s Parsha in Three Words: Shmot
Water and Fire
Meanwhile in the Netherlands:
The first Jewish printing press in the Netherlands was set up by Menashe ben Yisrael on this day in 1627.
With gratitude to Manny Saltiel for sending out a weekly newsletter of Jewish history that helps inspire these thoughts. Also a big shout out to Wikipedia for all the endless journeys into history. If you have any feedback on this new feature please let me know!
Alex is the Operations Director at TJE. With a degree in History (B.A.) and a schmaltz in Judaism (N.J.B.), this weekly “Blast from the Past” is a fun way to combine and share how the past can inform our future.