Enter your email address to get our weekly email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life.
Register »
To view Shabbat Times click here to set your location

Shabbat, May 9, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
To view Halachic Times click here to set your location
Omer: Day 30 - Gevurah sheb'Hod
Tonight Count 31
Jewish History

The supply of matzah (unleavened bread) which the Jewish people brought out of Egypt--enough for 60 meals--was exhausted on the 15th of Iyar, the 30th day after the Exodus. The people complained to Moses that they have nothing to eat. G-d notified them that He will rain down "bread from heaven" to sustain them (Exodus 16; see "Today in Jewish History" for tomorrow, Iyar 16).

A few months prior to her death, Empress Catherine I, the second wife of Peter the Great, expelled all Jews from the Ukraine.

Rostov-on-Don, Russia, was home to 14 Synagogues and many communal institutions. With the encouragement of local Russian officials, a wave of anti-Jewish riots (pogroms) swept the city on the 15th of Iyar of 1883.

Laws and Customs

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 Four. (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 4

Tomorrow is the thirty-first 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 thirty-one days, which are four weeks and three 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: Tifferet sheb'Hod -- "Harmony in Humility"

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

The mind of a woman and the mind of a man are two distinct minds at their very core. And only with both can there be a world.

It began when G‑d decided to create a world. In doing so, He took two perspectives. He saw the world from beyond, as its Creator. And He saw the world from within, as the energy of life.

From that first perspective originates the mind of man; from the second, the mind of woman.

That is why the man has the power to conquer and subdue, but he does not have the woman’s sense of the other.

That is why the woman feels the other. She does not conquer, she nurtures. But her light is tightly constrained.

As they bond together, the man unleashes the woman’s light, and the woman teaches the man to feel the other. In that union shines the very essence of all that is holy and divine.

Sefer ha-Likkutim (Ari), Shemot; Sefer ha-Maamarim 5652, p. 118.