Click here!
To view Shabbat Times click here to set your location

Shabbat, 22 Iyar, 5783

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
To view Halachic Times click here to set your location
Omer: Day 37 - Gevurah sheb'Yesod
Tonight Count 38
Jewish History

Following the descent of the manna (the miraculous "Bread from Heaven" that sustained the Israelites in the desert), G-d commanded the Children of Israel to keep the Shabbat. This Shabbat was the 22nd of Iyar, of the year 2448 from Creation (1313 BCE) (see "Today in Jewish History" for Iyar 15).

On that Friday morning, enough manna fell for two days' worth of meals, as on the Shabbat it would be prohibited to gather the manna. The "Two Loaves" of challah bread (Lechem Mishneh) that form the foundation of our Shabbat meal are in commemoration of the double portion of manna.

A Brief History of Shabbat
Shabbat: an island in time
The Manna

Giovanni Antonio Costanzi, the Vatican librarian and author of a catalogue of the Vatican's Hebrew manuscripts, directed searches in all the Jewish quarters throughout the Papal States to confiscate Jewish holy books. The confiscation begun on the 22nd Iyar in 1731. More confiscations continued over the next twenty years.

Two months after the Nazi occupation of Hungary, where the Jewish population prior to WWII was 725,000, the Nazis began deportation of the Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Eichmann personally oversaw the following day the start of the extermination process. Eight days later an estimated 100,000 had been murdered.

Laws and Customs

In preparation for the festival of Shavuot, we study one of the six chapters of the Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers ("Avot") on the afternoon of each of the six Shabbatot between Passover and Shavuot; this week we study Chapter Five. (In many communities -- and such is the Chabad custom -- the study cycle is repeated through the summer, until the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah.)

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 5

Tomorrow is the thirty-eighth 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 thirty-eight days, which are five weeks and three 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: Tifferet sheb'Yesod -- "Harmony 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."

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

Daily Thought

G‑d is not understandable.

But G‑d ponders Himself.

And this mode of pondering Himself He gave to us, dressed in many stories and rituals and ways of life.

Dressed in those clothes, we unite with G‑d in His pondering of Himself.

Maamar Gal Enai 5737.