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Shabbat, June 4, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Omer: Day 49 - Malchut sheb'Malchut
Jewish History

The incident involving the mandrakes (dudaim) which Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob, found in the field "during the time of the wheat harvest"--recounted in Genesis 30:14-18--occurred on the fifth of Sivan of the year 2197 from creation (1568 BCE).

On this day, Moses made a covenant with the Jewish people at the foot of Mount Sinai at which the people declared, "All that G-d has spoken, we shall do and hear" (Exodus 24:7) committing themselves to observe the Torah's commandments ("do") and strive to comprehend them ("hear"), while pledging to "do" also before they "hear."

Links:
What Happened at Matan Torah?
Are We to Have Blind Faith?
The Bargain and the Jew
Doing and Listening Go Hand in Hand
An Easy Life

On this day Rabbis Chayim and Yehoshua Reitzes were tortured and burned in Lvov, Poland after they were accused of having attempted to convince an apostate to return to Judaism.

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 Shabbat being the Shabbat before Shhavuot, we study Chapter Six. (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 6

The Talmud relates that when G-d came to give the Torah to the People of Israel in the early morning of Sivan 6 (see "Today in Jewish History" for tomorrow), He found them sleeping. (The Chassidic masters explain that this was an attempt to connect to their subconscious, transcendent self in preparation for their reception of the divine wisdom.) To rectify this lapse, we spend the entire first night of Shavuot (which begins at nightfall tonight) studying Torah. The traditional Tikkun Leil Shavout ("Rectification for Shavuot Night") study program includes the opening and closing verses of each book of the Written Torah (Tanach), as well as of each Parshah; the entire Book of Ruth (see "Laws and Customs" for tomorrow); the opening and closing sections of each tractate of the Talmud; a list of the 613 mitzvot; and selected readings from the Zohar and other Kabbalistic works.

Daily Thought

On Simchat Torah we dance with our feet, not with our heads.

We are celebrating the Torah, and the Torah is something we study with our heads. But we dance with our feet, not with our heads.

If we would dance with our heads, each one would dance a different dance, each in a different space, some with friends but not with others, some as lonesome souls.

One head is higher, one is lower, one is here on earth, the other in the clouds or beyond, and some minds know only their own space that no one else can know.

But we dance with our feet, and all our feet are here on the same earth—none higher and none lower. So now we can all dance as one, with one heart, as a single being.

Now there is no loneliness, only joy.

Likkutei Sichot, vol. 20, p. 370.