Get the best of Chabad.org content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!
ב"ה
To view Shabbat Times click here to set your location

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
To view Halachic Times click here to set your location
Omer: Day 42 - Malchut sheb'Yesod
Tonight Count 43
Jewish History

During Greek rule in the Land of Israel, the Greeks would hang idolatrous wreaths of roses on the doorways of the courtyards and stores, effectively rendering them forbidden for usage by the Jews. They would also write heretical statements on the foreheads of the Jews’ oxen and donkeys, so they would be forced to sell them and would not own any animals for plowing. When the Hasmoneans overthrew Greek rule, they abolished these insidious practices, and that day was commemorated as a holiday in Talmudic times (Megilat Taanit,ch. 2).

Links: What’s so Terrible About Idolatry?, Benefiting from Idolatry

Laws and Customs

Tomorrow is the forty-third 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-three days, which are six 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'Malchut -- "Kindness in Receptiveness"

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

How is it possible that any of the mitzvahs we do make sense to us?

They are, after all, connection points to G-d Himself. Before Him, the vast neural networks of our human brains and a cheap pocket calculator of the 70s are on equal standing.

God is beyond infinite. He is, as Maimonides writes, absolute existence. If in the realm of infinity, simple arithmetic breaks down, how can we apply human logic in the face of the Absolute?

And yet, not only do we attribute reasons to these mitzvahs—often reasons that work nicely within the context of our meat-based neurological wiring —we insist on deriving one rule from another, comparing and contrasting one mitzvah to the next, and forging ahead with applications based on such calculations.

As the Giver of these mitzvahs instructed us to do, when He said, “If you have a question, take it to your sages and follow their instructions to the detail.” (Deut. 17:8-11)

It could only be that we are connecting to a G-d who transcends all opposites.

Finite and infinite, reason and beyond reason, creation and Creator—for Him, all these are a singularity, blending in perfect harmony at their origin.

These mitzvahs are so divine, so unlimited, and so true, they can even embed themselves neatly within the neural network of a living organism on Planet Earth.

Maamar Margela B'fuma D'Rava 5746.