ב"ה
To view Shabbat Times click here to set your location

Shabbat, 7 Sivan, 5783

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
To view Halachic Times click here to set your location
Shavuot 2nd Day
Jewish History

Avraham ben Avraham, the famed "Ger Tzedek" (Righteous Convert) of Vilna, was born as Valentin Potozki, the son of Count Potocki, one of the richest landowners in Poland. As a student in Vilna he discovered Judaism and decided to convert -- a capital offense in most countries in Christian Europe at the time. He fled to Amsterdam where he secretly converted to Judaism, assuming the name Avraham ben Avraham ("Abraham the son of Abraham").

Years later he returned to Vilna, where he was eventually recognized as the missing son of Count Potocki and arrested by the church. He refused to renounce his faith and was sentenced to death. He was burned at the stake in Vilna on the 2nd day of Shavuot of 1749.

Link: The Ger Tzedek of Wilno

Laws and Customs

Outside of the Land of Israel, Shavuot is observed for a 2nd day today.

Links: Shavuot

Yizkor, the remembrance prayer for departed parents, is recited today after the morning reading of the Torah.

Links:
The Yizkor Prayer
Honor Due to Parents
On Breavement and Mourning

Once a month, as the moon waxes in the sky, we recite a special blessing called Kiddush Levanah, "the sanctification of the moon," praising the Creator for His wondrous work we call astronomy.

Kiddush Levanah is recited after nightfall, usually on Saturday night. The blessing is concluded with songs and dancing, because our nation is likened to the moon—as it waxes and wanes, so have we throughout history. When we say this blessing, we renew our trust that very soon, the light of G‑d's presence will fill all the earth and our people will be redeemed from exile.

Though Kiddush Levanah can be recited as early as three days after the moon's rebirth, the kabbalah tells us it is best to wait a full week, till the seventh of the month. Once 15 days have passed, the moon begins to wane once more and the season for saying the blessing has passed.

Links:

Kiddush Levana: Sanctification of the Moon
Brief Guide to Kiddush Levanah: Thank G‑d for the Moon!

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.