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

Friday, April 17, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
To view Halachic Times click here to set your location
Omer: Day Eight - Chessed sheb'Gevurah
Tonight Count 9
Jewish History

The Jewish community of Cologne, Germany, designated the 23rd of Nissan as a day of fasting and mourning to commemorate the Jews of Cologne massacred in 1147 during the Second Crusade.

Laws and Customs

In remembrance of the tragic death of Rabbi Akiva's disciples who died in a plague in the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, several mourning practices are observed during this period: no marriages are conducted during this time, and like mourners, we don't cut our hair or enjoy the sound of music. Customs vary as to the proscribed activities and the dates during which the mourning is observed; consult your rabbi as to the traditions followed by your community.

Link: 24,000 Plus One

Tomorrow is the ninth 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 nine days, which are one week and two 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: Gevurah sheb'Gevurah -- "Restraint in Restraint"

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

The day following a festival is called Isru Chag ("tied to the festival"). Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

Daily Thought

It is a mistake to consider man and woman two separate beings. They are no more than two halves of a single form, two converse hemispheres that fit tightly together to make a perfect whole. They are heaven and earth encapsulated in flesh and blood.

It is only that on its way to enter this world, this sphere was shattered apart. What was once the infinity of a perfect globe became two finite surfaces. What was once a duet of sublime harmony became two bizarre solos of unfinished motions, of unresolved discord.

So much so, that each one hears in itself only half a melody, and so too it hears in the other. Each sees the other and says, “That is broken.” Feigning wholeness, the two halves wander aimlessly in space alone.

Until each fragment allows itself to surrender, to admit that it too is broken. Only then can it search for the warmth it is missing. For the depth of its own self that was ripped away. For the harmony that will make sense of its song.

And in perfect union, two finite beings find in one another infinite beauty.