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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 12 - Hod sheb'Gevurah
Tonight Count 13
Jewish History

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.

Laws and Customs

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."

Links:
How to count the Omer
The deeper significance of the Omer Count

Daily Thought

True confidence is best found in those who are truly humble.

Moses was the most humble of all men. Yet he had the confidence to stand before the mightiest dictator on earth and assert his demands. He had the confidence to stand before G‑d and listen without losing his composure. He had the confidence, when necessary, even to argue with G‑d.

Yet he considered himself to be truly nothing.

The confidence of Moses was not confidence in his own self. He had no self. He was but an agent of Above. Above there is infinite power.

Self-confidence is limited, at best. But if you trust in the One who has sent you to be here and do what you need to do—that confidence knows no bounds.