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Thursday, 24 Iyar, 5781

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 39 - Netzach sheb'Yesod
Tonight Count 40
Jewish History

In Rheims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies, thus marking the official end of World War II in Europe.

The surrender took place following a fierce seven days of battles and truces across Europe.

Laws and Customs

Tomorrow is the fortieth 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 days, which are five 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'Yesod -- "Humility 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

At the point we occupy in the grand story of things, the world lies about its true identity. It lies that it is a beast with no master.

It is the ultimate lie because it conceals the highest truth: That there is nothing else but G‑d.

The vital root of this lie, its lifeline and key to existence, is embedded within the innermost domain of your life: Your time for learning Torah, for prayer, and for contemplating G‑d’s wonders.

From those crucial moments, it siphons out all its vitality with a simple, disruptive strategy:

At that time, when you are engaged in the purpose for which you and the entire world were created, the lie leaps to the forefront of your consciousness with an alarm over some high-priority task that must be taken care of immediately, no matter the cost.

You know it is a lie. Because, if it were true, why was there no urgency when you were eating and drinking, walking and sleeping? Why only now, when you are engaged in the most crucial moment of life?

And yet you concede. The world has just renewed its license to lie.

Defy the lie. As the world denies the existence of its Maker, for these precious minutes you can choose to do the opposite: To deny the existence of anything in the world other than the meaning you are giving it right now.

Because this is ultimately the reason the world was granted permission to lie: So that you will stand firm and declare the highest truth out of the brazen defiance of your soul.

Denied nurture, the lie withers and vanishes. Your world sheds its pernicious tactics. And it discovers that it is a divine, beautiful garden after all.

Maamar Bati Legani 5730, 14.