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Thursday, May 6, 2021
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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."

Links:
How to count the Omer
The deeper significance of the Omer Count

Daily Thought

Where is the playwright within the play? Within the lead actor? Behind a rock?

She has invested her entire being within her play. She is present in every detail.

And yet the playwright is nowhere to be found.


Where is the soul within the body?

At the smallest wound in the body, the soul reels in pain. The slightest nuance of the soul is immediately expressed in the body. Grab a living body and you grab a soul.

And yet nowhere within your body will any biologist ever find you, the person, and your will to choose to do what you do.

The body and soul are one, and yet the soul has not become body—and the body without the soul remains only a slab of meat.


Where are you within your own personality?

Are you your feelings? Are you your mind? All these things change and yet you remain the same person.

In every detail of your persona, we find you, all of you. Yet you are none of these, and neither are you all of these.


Where is G‑d within His universe?

Within every detail.

And in none of them.

Beyond and within.

As the Zohar says, “He grasps all things, but none grasp Him.”

Torah Ohr, Vayera. Maamar V’nacha Alav 5714.