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Jewish Holidays

Why Count?

April 20, 2016, by

Why don’t we count down to Matan Torah? Why is the count relative to the korban omer? Why do we begin on Pesach but not on the first day of Pesach?

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. […]

Lag BaOmer: Bows and Arrows

February 26, 2014, by

Obviously, bows and arrows are military symbols. In this context, they are doubtless a reminder of the Revolt of the Jewish People, led by Bar Kochba, against the Romans in 135 C.E. (some 1,865 years ago). In this revolt, which took place some sixty-five years after the Destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans […]

Lag B’Omer from Torah Tidbits

February 26, 2014, by

Lag BaOmer is an enigmatic semi-holiday, of which the Shulchan Aruch speaks in terms of “a bit of joy”, which grew to a festive day of major proportion in the Chassidic world. Lag BaOmer should be seen in the context of the whole Omer period, in order to be properly understood. From the perspective of […]

Rainbows and Arrows

February 26, 2014, by

The Bible makes reference to the “bow of Hashem” appearing in the skies in the time of Noach, after the Great Flood, “I have placed My bow in the clouds and it will be a symbol of the covenant between Myself and the Earth (Bereshit, 9:13).” This bow represented the covenant that G-d had made […]

Bar Yochai Song for Lag BaOmer

February 26, 2014, by

For the Kabbalistically inclined, the following enchanting Shabbat “zemer,” festive song, is shown below. It was composed by Shimon ibn Lavi, who had fled as a child from the Spanish Inquisition, and arrived in Fez, Morocco, where he remained until 1549. He later set out for Eretz Yisrael, but on his way there, as fate […]

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