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Shabbat, June 1, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 42 - Malchut sheb'Yesod
Tonight Count 43
Jewish History

During Greek rule in the Land of Israel, the Greeks would hang idolatrous wreaths of roses on the doorways of the courtyards and stores, effectively rendering them forbidden for usage by the Jews. They would also write heretical statements on the foreheads of the Jews’ oxen and donkeys, so they would be forced to sell them and would not own any animals for plowing. When the Hasmoneans overthrew Greek rule, they abolished these insidious practices, and that day was commemorated as a holiday in Talmudic times (Megilat Taanit,ch. 2).

Links: What’s so Terrible About Idolatry?, Benefiting from Idolatry

Laws and Customs

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarchim (“the Shabbat that blesses" the new month): a special prayer is recited blessing the Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") of the upcoming month of Sivan, which falls on Tuesday of the following week.

Prior to the blessing, we announce the precise time of the molad, the "birth" of the new moon. See molad times.

It is a Chabad custom to recite the entire book of Psalms before morning prayers, and to conduct farbrengens (chassidic gatherings) in the course of the Shabbat.

Links: Shabbat Mevarchim; Tehillim (the Book of Psalms); The Farbrengen

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 forty-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 forty-three days, which are six weeks and one day, 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: Chessed sheb'Malchut -- "Kindness in Receptiveness"

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

Many believe that truth is the domain of great minds, that the greater one’s intellect, the closer one can come to truth.

But if a truth is truly truth, it is to be found everywhere. For truth is that which knows no bounds.

The same truth that the genius perceives in his world of intellectual abstraction is found in the simple world of the child, where every thought can be touched and seen.

Only that the child has two advantages: The child can touch and see the truth. And the child has truth in its pristine simplicity.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 15, pp. 79–80; Torat Menachem 5743, Nasso, sec. 22; Sefer ha-Sichot 5752, vol. 1, pp. 126–127; Shabbat Parshat Pinchas 5734; 8th day of Chanukah 5739. For more elaboration, see Limitless Truth for the Limited Mind.