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

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
To view Halachic Times click here to set your location
Omer: Day 35 - Malchut sheb'Hod
Tonight Count 36
Jewish History

On the 20th of Iyar 2449 (1312 BCE)--nearly a year after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai--the Children of Israel departed their encampment near the Mountain. They resumed their journey when the pillar of cloud rose for the first time from over the "Tabernacle--the divine sign that would signal the resumption of their travels throughout their encampments and journeys over the next 38 years, until they reached the eastern bank of the Jordan River on the eve of their entry into the Holy Land.

Links: The Israelites' Journey through the Desert

On the 20th of Iyar in 1288, thirteen Jews in Troyes, France, were burned at the stake by the Inquisition. They were accused, in a blood libel, of the supposed murder of a Christian child. The thirteen Jews were chosen from among the richer members of the community.

Jews were also killed in a blood libel in Neuchatel, Switzerland, on this date.

The Jews of Venice, Italy, were forbidden to practice law or to act as advocates in the Courts of Venice on the 20th of Iyar of 1637.

The Hadassah University Hospital and Medical Center was opened on Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem. The hospital, designed by renowned Bauhaus architect Erich Mendelssohn, opened as a modern, 300-bed academic medical facility.

In the ghetto of Kovno, the Nazis decreed the execution of all pregnant Jewish women.

Laws and Customs

Tomorrow is the thirty-sixth 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-six days, which are five 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'Yesod -- "Kindness 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

This is the impossible position He has put us in: The paradox of outrage.

We believe that at the core of reality there lies a G-d who is essentially good and cares for each one according to his or her needs, guiding each one to the right path, punishing wickedness and rewarding goodness in fair and equal measure. And so, over and over we are outraged--because what we experience flies in the face of this entire belief.

Yet, if we abandon either pole of the paradox, we might as well have never been born. If we learn to ignore the existence of the evil and the suffering, finding some justification for G-d or simply hiding our heads in the sand--then for what purpose were we placed in such a world? To leave it as we found it? And what kind of a G-d have our justifications created?

But if we should surrender our G-d, concluding that, "there is no Judge and therefore no justice"--then what value does my life have? What value does any life have? And what, then, is the point of all the outrage?

This is the drama created by a G-d entirely beyond any form of understanding--a drama powered by the agonizing tension of paradox.

They asked the Baal Shem Tov: "The Talmud tells usChulin 109b. that for every thing G-d forbade, He provided us something permissible of the same sort. He forbade us to eat blood and permitted the liver. He forbade milk and meat and permitted the cow's udder. If so, what did He permit that corresponds to the sin of heresy?"

The Baal Shem Tov replied: "Acts of kindness."Pardes Yosef, Terumah, chapter 25.

Because when you see a person suffering, you don't say, "G-d runs the universe. G-d will take care. G-d knows what is best." You do everything in your power to relieve that suffering as though there is no G-d. You become a heretic in G-d's name.