ב"ה
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Thursday, 5 Sivan, 5783

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 49 - Malchut sheb'Malchut
Jewish History

The incident involving the mandrakes (dudaim) which Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob, found in the field "during the time of the wheat harvest"--recounted in Genesis 30:14-18--occurred on the fifth of Sivan of the year 2197 from creation (1568 BCE).

On this day, Moses made a covenant with the Jewish people at the foot of Mount Sinai at which the people declared, "All that G-d has spoken, we shall do and hear" (Exodus 24:7) committing themselves to observe the Torah's commandments ("do") and strive to comprehend them ("hear"), while pledging to "do" also before they "hear."

Links:
What Happened at Matan Torah?
Are We to Have Blind Faith?
The Bargain and the Jew
Doing and Listening Go Hand in Hand
An Easy Life

On this day Rabbis Chayim and Yehoshua Reitzes were tortured and burned in Lvov, Poland after they were accused of having attempted to convince an apostate to return to Judaism.

Laws and Customs

When a festival day (yom tov) falls on a Friday -- as Shavuot does this year -- an "eruv tavshilin" (i.e., food for at least one "meal" that is set aside in advance for Shabbat) must be prepared prior to the festival, so that it should be permitted to prepare food for Shabbat during the festival.

For more on Eruv Tavshilin and how it is made click here

The Talmud relates that when G-d came to give the Torah to the People of Israel in the early morning of Sivan 6 (see "Today in Jewish History" for tomorrow), He found them sleeping. (The Chassidic masters explain that this was an attempt to connect to their subconscious, transcendent self in preparation for their reception of the divine wisdom.) To rectify this lapse, we spend the entire first night of Shavuot (which begins at nightfall tonight) studying Torah. The traditional Tikkun Leil Shavout ("Rectification for Shavuot Night") study program includes the opening and closing verses of each book of the Written Torah (Tanach), as well as of each Parshah; the entire Book of Ruth (see "Laws and Customs" for tomorrow); the opening and closing sections of each tractate of the Talmud; a list of the 613 mitzvot; and selected readings from the Zohar and other Kabbalistic works.

Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted from the prayer service.

Daily Thought

I am G‑d, your G‑d who took you out of the land of Egypt to be your G‑d…Do not steal. Do not kill. Do not covet.

If Torah is divine wisdom, you would expect it to enter the world in a serene voice. You would expect to hear that voice speak of the mysteries of life and open wide paths of profound contemplation.

Instead, amidst thunder and lightning, we heard simple, obvious morals: don’t steal, don't kill, don't covet.

Because G‑d was telling us that from this point on, everything will be turned on its head.

Before Sinai, where did you find divine wisdom?

Within an enlightened soul sitting beneath a tamarisk in deep contemplation, communing with the oneness of the universe.

After Sinai, you can find Torah in a human being enslaved to a substance that kills, incapable of escape—until thrown this rope of divine wisdom and choosing of his own will to pull himself out with it and rewrite his entire journey.

For him, G-d said, "I am G-d who took you out of Egypt."

You can find Torah in the guy who is tempted to theft and murder, who sees these as convenient alternatives—but refrains because G‑d said, "Do not steal. Do not murder. Do not even covet."

And if you can’t find Torah there, because you haven’t sunk to that extreme, and you don't know anyone who has...

...then find Torah by changing the way you live day to day, the things you speak, the actions you take. By disrupting your everyday world. By leaving nothing as it is.

That is why Torah was given with lightning and thunder.

Because, post-Sinai, Torah is found in this busy, noisy world. Torah is where the action is.

Post-Sinai, everything has changed. Because Torah has to change everything.

Maamar B’sha’ah Shehikdimu 5732.