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ב"ה
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Wednesday, 17 Iyar, 5782

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 32 - Netzach sheb'Hod
Tonight Count 33
Jewish History

Following the theft of silver from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the 17th of Iyar of the year 3826 from Creation (66 CE), the Jewish defense force attacked and defeated the Roman garrison stationed in Jerusalem.

The 17th of Iyar marks the passing of Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (1713-1793), author of the Talmudic-Halachic work Noda B'Yehuda and Chief Rabbi of Prague. His famous "Letter of Peace" helped to heal the rift between the great sages Rabbi Yaakov Emden and Rabbi Yonasan Eibeshutz, which threatened to irreparably divide the Jewish people.

Laws and Customs
Starting in the afternoon, Tachanun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Tomorrow is the thirty-third 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-three days, which are four weeks and five 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: Hod sheb'Hod -- "Humility in Humility" (also: "Splendor in Splendor")

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

The words and the stories of Torah are but its clothing; the guidance within them is its body.

And as with a body, within that guidance breathes a soul that gives life to whoever follows it.

And within that soul breathes a deeper, transcendental soul, the soul of the soul: G‑d Himself within His Torah.

Grasp the clothes alone, and you are like the student who hears the words but not the thoughts. Grasp straight for the soul—or even the body—and you will come up with nothing. They are not graspable; they are G‑dly wisdom, and you are a created being.

Instead, examine those words and those stories; turn them again and again. As words from the heart are one with the heart, every word of these stories is Torah. As fine clothes and jewelry bring out the beauty of their wearer, so these words and stories will open your eyes to the G‑dliness within them.

This is what Torah is meant to achieve: that we should discover G‑d in simple stories. Because once we will find Him there, we will find Him in the simple stories of our own lives as well.

Maamar Gal Einai 5737.