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Sunday, 13 Iyar, 5781

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 28 - Malchut sheb'Netzach
Tonight Count 29
Jewish History

The Jews of Berne, Switzerland were expelled on this date in 1427. Berne had a long history of expulsions and anti-Jewish riots.

Rabbi Yisrael Aryeh Leib, brother of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, was the youngest of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Chana Schneerson's three sons.

Born in Nikolayev in 1906, he quickly became renowned as a scholar of exceptional genius. At a young age, Yisrael Aryeh Leib was already teaching Tanya, the mystical foundational work of Chabad Chassidism, to an audience of eager adults.

He eventually immigrated to Israel, and in his later years he moved to Liverpool, England, to study in the local university. It was there that he passed away in 1952.

Rabbi Yisrael Aryeh Leib is interred in Safed, Israel.

Laws and Customs

Tomorrow is the twenty-ninth 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 twenty-nine days, which are four weeks and one day, 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: Chessed sheb'Hod -- "Kindness in Humility"

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

Some people think that if they were truly spiritual, they would never eat.

In truth, few acts are as divine as eating food.

Eating is similar to sifting gold. You grasp the divine spark within a food and reject the dross. And then, in the mitzvahs energized by that food, you carry that divine spark back to its origin within the oneness of its Creator.

That is why there are foods that are forbidden and foods that are permissible. The Hebrew word for “forbidden” is assur—meaning tied down. “Permissible” is mutar—untied.

Kosher means “fit.” Foods that are assur are not fit for the divine act of eating because the divine spark within them is tied down and cannot be released. If we would eat them, rather than carrying that spark upward, we would be pulled down with it.

But foods that are mutar are fit and ready to release powerful divine energy into all the mitzvahs we do.

Tanya, chapter 7.