In the summer of 1942, about 300,000 Jews were deported from Warsaw to Treblinka. When reports of the mass murder in the killing center leaked back to the Warsaw ghetto, an organized resistance began forming, which managed to smuggle a modest chache of arms into the ghetto. On the 14th of Nissan of 1943, the remaining 35,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto (from an original 450,000) staged an organized uprising, and drove back the Nazis with a rain of bullets when they came to begin the final removal of all Jews. The Jewish resistance lasted 27 days. A heroic stand was made in an underground bunker under 18 Mila Street, where hundreds of fighters, including the 24-year-old leader of the uprising, Mordechai Anilevitch, met their death. Although the Ghetto was burned to the ground by Iyar 3, a few stray survivors hid in the rubble and fired at the Nazis for two months longer.
In tribute to the uprising, the Israeli government designated the 27th of Nissan as its official "Holocaust and Bravery Day," and in many Jewish communities the day is observed as an annual
Holocaust remembrance day. But because of the halachic prohibition to conduct eulogies and other mournful events in the festive month of Nissan, the chief rabbinate of Israel, and many Jewish communities, observe instead the 10th of Tevet as a day to mourn and remember the six million, which include many whose yahrtzeit (date of passing) remains unknown.
Tomorrow is the thirteenth day of the Omer Count. Since, on the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall of the previous evening, we count the omer for tomorrow's date tonight, after nightfall: "Today is thirteen days, which are one week and six days, to the Omer." (If you miss the count tonight, you can count the omer all day tomorrow, but without the preceding blessing).
The 49-day "Counting of the Omer" retraces our ancestors' seven-week spiritual journey from the Exodus to Sinai. Each evening we recite a special blessing and count the days and weeks that have passed since the Omer; the 50th day is
Shavuot, the festival celebrating the Giving of the Torah at Sinai.
Tonight's Sefirah:Yesod sheb'Gevurah-- "Connection in Restraint"
The teachings of Kabbalah explain that there are seven "Divine Attributes" -- Sefirot -- that G-d assumes through which to relate to our existence: Chessed, Gevurah,
Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malchut ("Love", "Strength", "Beauty", "Victory", "Splendor", "Foundation" and "Sovereignty"). In the human being, created in the "image of G-d," the seven sefirot are mirrored in the seven "emotional attributes" of the human soul:
Kindness, Restraint, Harmony, Ambition, Humility, Connection and Receptiveness. Each of the seven attributes contain elements of all seven--i.e., "Kindness in Kindness", "Restraint in Kindness", "Harmony in Kindness", etc.--making for a total
of forty-nine traits. The 49-day Omer Count is thus a 49-step process of
self-refinement, with each day devoted to the "rectification" and perfection of one the forty-nine "sefirot."
Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your cities . . . (Deuteronomy 16:18)
Think of yourself as a city. You have four magical gates: the Gate of Seeing, the Gate of Listening, the Gate of Imagining and the Gate of Speaking.
Magical gates, because an Infinite G‑d enters your finite city through these gates. An infinite G‑d who cannot be squeezed within any place or boxed within any definition, but chooses to dress neatly in a wisdom called Torah—and these are your gates by which wisdom may enter.
That is why all the world competes to storm those gates. They want you to see the ugliness they see, hear the cacophony they hear, imagine the nonsense they imagine and speak without end. And then, you will desire all they desire and no room will be left in your city for that Infinite G‑d.
You only need master those gates and the city is yours.