Holidays

Sefirat HaOmer – the Basic Meaning

March 10, 2014, by

The word “Sefirah” basically means “counting” or “the count.” What is being counted? One counts things of value. One counts units of time till a desired goal; for a child, it might be, “How many days till vacation?” For an adult, “How many weeks or months till I get my degree?” or “How many years […]

Basic Laws of Sefirat HaOmer

March 9, 2014, by

What are the Biblical sources? We find in the Third Book of the Torah, “VaYikra,” or Leviticus (so-called because much (but far from all) of its content is directed, for practical purposes, at the Tribe of Levi) Chapter 23, verses 15-16, the following: “U’Sefartem lachem Mi’Mochorat HaShabbat,…” “And you shall count for yourselves – from […]

Basic Law Difference – Purim vs. Sefirat HaOmer

March 8, 2014, by

Vive le Difference! It would seem that in connection with Purim, the obligation is one of “Mikra Megillah,” “Reading the Megillah.” The definition of communal “Reading” is “Mashmia L’Ozen,” “Making known to the Ear;” that is, transferring information from the parchment where the living words lie dormant, to the (heart and brain via the) ear. […]

Harvesting the “Omer”

February 1, 2010, by

The following is the text of the RAMBAM with regard to the harvesting of the “Omer:” [Chapter 7: “Laws of Continual Offerings and Additional Offerings”] “On the Second Day of Passover, which is the Sixteenth of Nisan, a sacrifice in addition to the regular Additional Sacrifice of the Holiday is brought, and that is the […]

Parshat Bamidbar: Desert Prose

May 19, 2009, by

Walk on the sands of an hourglass shattered. Bare feet blistered, bleeding as they drag on those little grains of a scorched earth. It is so cold, then so hot: cold because the heart is turned to ice, hot because the feverish mind is burning up. The paradoxes of this place make no sense at […]

Parshat Behar-Bechukotai: Heightened Sense

May 12, 2009, by

On Mount Sinai… Many metaphors hitchhike along the road that is Life on the hoarse-driven carriage that is the oft-used vocal cords of Language. Heaven and Earth, besides for being what they are, represent our lofty aspirations and pragmatic implementations; High and Low, besides for being notches on the vertical yardstick, depict ones feelings and […]

Parshat Emor: Per Say

May 6, 2009, by

Say to the… It isn’t easy saying it. Especially when it’s real. We met at one of those crossroads; you know, one of those that are more cross and less road. She was sleeping there. I was awake; thought I knew where I was going. Ha! In retrospect, what a foolish thought. Well, she was […]

The “Omer” Controversy

June 30, 2006, by

A sect, known as the Tzedukim, after one of its founders, Tzadok, believed in the absolutely literal interpretation of the Torah. Therefore, they said that when the Torah says “on the day after the Shabbat,” it meant “Shabbat” in its regular meaning, the Seventh Day of the week, and therefore, according to this sadly mistaken […]