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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 40 - Hod sheb'Yesod
Tonight Count 41
Jewish History

During the First Crusade, the crusaders are locked out of Cologne, Germany and the local Jews are saved, following the orders of the local bishop to close the gates to the city. (see "Today in Jewish History" for Iyar 8)

In a number of local provinces, where the local bishop tried to avert the masses from harming the Jews, the Bishop would have to escape for his own safety.

1,200 Jews were massacred by a Christian and Muslim mob attack on the Jewish section of Toledo, Spain, on this date in 1355.

Laws and Customs

Tomorrow is the forty-first 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 forty-one days, which are five weeks 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'Yesod -- "Connection in Connection"

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

People think the Torah is all about laws and rituals and quaint stories, with a mystical side as well.

In truth, the Torah is entirely spiritual. But when you cannot perceive the spiritual, all you see are laws and rituals and quaint stories.