Saturday, April 11, 2009

ROSH HASHANAH Head of the Year (New Year)

ROSH HASHANAH Head of the Year (New Year)

Gen. 21:1-34, 1Sam. 1:1-2:10, 1Thes. 4:13-18

Gen. 21

1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

6And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

7And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

8And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

9And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

10Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

11And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

12And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

13And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

14And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

16And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

17And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

18Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

19And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

20And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

21And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

22And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:

23Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

24And Abraham said, I will swear.

25And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.

26And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.

27And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

28And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.

29And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?

30And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

31Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

32Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

33And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

34And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

1 Samuel 1

1Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:

2And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

4And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

5But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.

6And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.

7And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

8Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

9So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.

10And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

11And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

12And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

13Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

14And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

15And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

16Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

17Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.

18And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.

19And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.

20Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.

21And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

22But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.

23And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

24And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.

25And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

26And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.

27For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

28Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.

1 Samuel 2

1And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.

2There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

3Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

4The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.

5They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.

6The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.

7The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

8He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them.

9He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

10The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

1 Thess. 4

13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Prayer Shawl: The Heavenly Significance explained in the Zohar

48. The recital of the Sh'ma, Tefilin and straps

The sages taught that reciting the Sh'ma Yisrael twice daily is as good as meditating day and night. The Faithful Shepherd goes over the meaning of the number of knots in the prayer shawl, the four passages and the knots in the Tefilin and the length and winding of the straps. We learn that God and His Shechinah are the voice and speech of every angel, and that they are in every voice and speech of Torah, and in every voice of prayer and every single precept, and in every place of God's rule in the upper and lower worlds.

285. The sages taught: 'Anyone reciting the Sh'ma Yisrael morning and evening is as though he had observed the saying that "but you shall meditate therein day and night" (Yehoshua 1:8).' THIS IS BECAUSE THE RECITAL OF THE SH'MA YISRAEL ENCOMPASSES RIGHT AND LEFT, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF DAY AND NIGHT. HE EXPLAINS, for a prayer-shawl is white, THAT IS TO SAY, THE GARMENT OF THE FRINGES IS OF THE ASPECT OF THE WHITE THAT IS IN IT AND NOT THE BLUE THAT IS IN IT, and is to the right from the side of Chesed; and it is said about it: "Almighty King, who sits on the throne of mercy, governs with kindness (Heb. chasidut)" (Yeshayah 16:5), and also: "And in mercy (Heb. chesed) a throne is established" (Ibid.). The numerical value of Chesed is 72, which hints at the 72 links and knots of the prayer-shawl, NAMELY FOUR TIMES EIGHTEEN.

286. And there is a prayer-shawl from the side of Metatron, which is the Tet Tet OF METATRON, which includes the eighteen links and knots on each corner OF THE PRAYER-SHAWL, I.E five knots paralleling the five books of the Torah, and thirteen links, NAMELY THE THIRTEEN LOOPS THAT ARE WOUND AROUND THE FRINGES, which parallel the thirteen attributes of Mercy mentioned in the Torah, about which it is said: There are thirteen exegetical principles by which the Torah is expounded, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE THIRTEEN ATTRIBUTES OF MERCY THAT ARE DRAWN DOWN FROM THE THIRTEEN EMENDATIONS OF THE BEARD OF ARICH ANPIN.

287. About MALCHUT it is said: "as the appearance of a man above upon it" (Yechezkel 1:26), NAMELY THAT MALCHUT has the form of Tiferet, which is Tiferet of man upon it from above, and is called by the name OF TIFERET, WHICH IS Yud Vav Dalet, Hei Aleph, Vav Aleph Vav, Hei Aleph. THIS IS THE INNER MEANING OF THE VERSE: "every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory; I have formed him; yea, I have made him" (Yeshayah 43:7). THEREFORE, "as the appearance of a man from above" is the Shechinah, which is as the form of the Central Column, WHICH IS TIFERET, with four countenances and ten Sfirot, that make man. THAT IS, THE TEN LETTERS YUD VAV DALET, HEI ALEPH, VAV ALEPH VAV, HEI ALEPH HAVE THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF ADAM (45). And the four faces of Adam are the four SIMPLE letters OF YUD HEI VAV HEI, which TOGETHER make Yud Dalet (=fourteen) letters, about which IT IS SAID: "and used similes by the hand (Heb. yad - Yud Dalet) of the prophets" (Hoshea 12:11).

288. Again, THE TZITZIT is called 'living' (Heb. Chai = eighteen), NAMELY THE THIRTEEN LINKS AND FIVE KNOTS, from the aspect of the righteous one, WHICH IS YESOD, in whom, NAMELY BY WHOSE UNITY, the Holy One, blessed be He and His Shechinah are called by the name 'man'. THAT IS, YUD HEI VAV HEI, SPELLED OUT IN FULL WITH ALEPHS, HAS THE SAME NUMERICAL VALUE AS MAN where He, the Central Column THAT IS ZEIR ANPIN, is YUD VAV DALET, HEI ALEPH, VAV ALEPH VAV, AND HAS THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF dew (Heb. tal = 39), while His Shechinah is Hei Aleph. And with Hei, the name Adam IS COMPLETED. This is because dew is in numerical value equal to Yud Vav Dalet, Hei Aleph, Vav Aleph Vav. And this, THE RIGHTEOUS ONE CALLED 'LIVING', 'causes the dew to fall', WHICH IS YUD VAV DALET, HEI ALEPH, VAV ALEPH VAV onto the Hei Aleph, WHICH IS THE SHECHINAH, FOR YESOD is the knot of the prayer-shawl, which is eighteen worlds ON EACH SIDE, NAMELY FIVE KNOTS AND THIRTEEN LINKS that bind together AND UNITE the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shechinah on all sides, with the four corners of the prayer-shawl, WHICH ARE CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET AND MALCHUT.

289. Tefilin are THE ASPECT OF the Left COLUMN, as it is said: "Hashem has sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength" (Yeshayah 62:8), where "by His right hand" refers to the Torah and "by the arm of His strength" refers to Tefilin. The four passages IN THE TEFILIN are THE FOUR LETTERS Yud Hei Vav Hei. Adonai is a palace for the four letters, WHICH ARE THE FOUR PASSAGES in the four receptacles of the Tefilin. The knot of the hand Tefilin is the righteous one, who lives forever, WHICH IS YESOD, and is the bond between the two of them, BETWEEN THE YUD HEI VAV HEI AND 'ADONAI', on the left arm. The knot of the head Tefilin is the Central Column, NAMELY TIFERET, by which are united together on high the Yud Hei Vav Hei and Eheyeh which are Chochmah and Binah, FOR ZEIR ANPIN ASCENDS AND UNITES CHOCHMAH AND BINAH, WHICH ARE CALLED THE YUD HEI VAV HEI AND 'EHEYEH', WHERE DA'AT IS MADE.

290. The recital of the Sh'ma is the unification that is at the center, NAMELY THE UNITY THAT IS IN CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, and it is held between the fringes and the Tefilin, FOR THE FRINGES, THAT ARE OF THE ASPECT OF THE WHITE THAT IS IN THEM, ARE ON ITS RIGHT, AND THE TEFILIN ARE ITS LEFT. For all of the passages of the fringes and Tefilin are included in the unification of the recital of the Sh'ma. And from the side of the Central Column, namely prayer-shawl and Tefilin, it is said: "And it shall be for a sign upon your hand and for frontlets between your eyes" (Shemot 13:16), AND IT IS ALSO SAID: "that they make them fringes" (Bemidbar 15:38).

291. The letter Shin of the Tefilin is tradition Moses received on Mount Sinai, AS IT IS WRITTEN: "And all peoples of the earth shall see that You are called by the name of Hashem; and they shall be afraid of You" (Devarim 28:10). And it has been taught: What is the Yud Hei Vav Hei? It is the head Tefilin, specifically the Shin Shin of the Tefilin, THAT ARE VISIBLE ON THEM FROM THE TWO EXTERNAL SIDES. The two Shin have the numerical value of six hundred. Shin Shin are the six (Heb. shesh) stages CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD, YESOD THAT ARE IN ZEIR ANPIN, WHERE THE RIGHT SHIN IS CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, AND THE LEFT SHIN IS NETZACH, HOD AND YESOD. The two Shin have seven branches, AS THE RIGHT SHIN HAS THREE HEADS, AND THE LEFT FOUR HEADS. TOGETHER THERE ARE SEVEN HEADS, OR SEVEN BRANCHES. This adds up to thirteen, and together they are 613, BECAUSE SEVEN BRANCHES AND SIX GRADES AMOUNT TO THIRTEEN, AND THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF THE TWO SHIN IS SIX HUNDRED. And there is no precept that is not equivalent to the whole of the Torah, IT BEING, THEREFORE, SAID ABOUT IT: "AND ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH SHALL SEE THAT YOU ARE CALLED BY THE NAME OF HASHEM... (IBID.)."

292. Likewise, JUST AS 613 IS IMPLIED IN THE TEFILIN, so each precept is the Yud Hei Vav Hei, AS FOLLOWS: The Yud Hei IN IT, together with 'My name' (Heb. shmi) have the numerical value of 365, THIS BEING THE NUMBER OF THE NEGATIVE PRECEPTS IN THE TORAH. Again: Vav Hei IN IT, together with 'My memorial' (Heb. zichri) have the numerical value of 248, THIS BEING THE NUMBER OF THE POSITIVE PRECEPTS IN THE TORAH. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PRECEPTS IS 613. This is why each precept is equivalent to 613. And the sages have taught that the recital of the Sh'ma Yisrael, INCORPORATING TEFILIN AND FRINGES contains 613 in the fringes, AS TZITZIT IN NUMERICAL VALUE IS SIX HUNDRED, WHICH TOGETHER WITH THE 13 LINKS THEREOF MAKES 613. And there is also 613 in the aspect of Tefilin, LIKE THE NUMERICAL EQUIVALENT OF THE TWO LETTERS SHIN ON THEM AND SO it is throughout.

293. "and they shall be as frontlets": totefet (lit. 'frontlet'), WHICH CAN BE SPLIT INTO TWO TET TET AND PE TAV. THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF Tet Tet is 'living' (Heb. chai = eighteen) worlds, the righteous one, NAMELY YESOD, parallel to which is Metatron, FOR YESOD IS ATTIRED WITH METATRON. Pe Tav refers to Tiferet, WHOSE LETTERS MAY BE REARRANGED as TAV ALEPH RESH, PE TAV (NAMELY A DESCRIPTION OF PE TAV). And Metatron is Tiferet's horse; THAT IS TO SAY TIFERET RIDES UPON HIM, for all the Sfirot dress up IN METATRON. AT ONE TIME IT MIGHT BE TIFERET THAT WEARS HIM, AT ANOTHER YESOD AND AT ANOTHER MALCHUT, WHILE AT OTHER TIMES ALL THREE MIGHT BE ATTIRED WITH HIM. And so it is that his relationship to them is as that of body to soul, and when the Holy One, blessed be He, removes Himself from him, METATRON is left dumb, having neither voice nor speech. For the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shechinah are the voice and speech of every angel, and THEY ARE in every voice and speech of Torah, and in every voice of prayer, and in each single precept, and in every place of His rule, in the upper worlds and in the lower worlds. He is the life of everything. He carries everything.

294. Just as there is no speech without voice and no voice without speech, so is there no 'Adonai' without the Yud Hei Vav Hei. And this is true for the world of Atzilut, SINCE THERE NO SEPARATION EXISTS BETWEEN ZEIR ANPIN AND MALCHUT, WHO ARE VOICE AND SPEECH. But in the world of separation, NAMELY IN THE THREE WORLDS OF BRIYAH, YETZIRAH, AND ASIYAH, there is voice without speech. YET IN ATZILUT THEY ARE UNITED, and the knot of the Tefilin, which is Shadai, WHICH IS YESOD, is held by them from above and from below, and this is the righteous one, the life of the worlds, who is held between voice and speech AND UNITES THEM.

295. At this point, the Faithful Shepherd chanced upon the old man, and said: Old man, Old man, the Tefilin and the fringes and the section on the mezuzah are three precepts that are incorporated in the recital of the Sh'ma Yisrael, and the recital of the Sh'ma is the fourth precept. AND THE FOUR CORRESPOND TO CHESED, GVURAH, TIFERET AND MALCHUT, WHERE FRINGES AND TEFILIN ARE CHESED AND GVURAH, THE RECITAL OF THE SH'MA IS TIFERET THAT UNITES THEM, AND THE MEZUZAH IS MALCHUT. Fringes are mentioned three times, PARALLELING THE THREE COLUMNS, and regarding Tefilin the word 'sign', WHICH IS YESOD, is mentioned twice, ONCE FOR THE KNOT OF THE HEAD TEFILIN AND ONCE FOR THE KNOT OF THE HAND TEFILIN. In respect to the fringes, the letter Zayin of the word "tiz'keru (lit. 'that you remember')" (Bemidbar 15:40), has to be well stressed, FOR THIS LETTER ZAYIN (NUMERICAL VALUE SEVEN) IMPLIES MALCHUT, WHICH IS THE SEVENTH SFIRAH, AND IS THE SECRET OF THE BLUE THAT IS IN THE FRINGE, ON WHICH THE REMEMBERING DEPENDS. And on the mezuzah, WHICH IS MALCHUT, the name Shadai is on the outside, while Yud Hei Vav Hei is on the inside. THIS IS BECAUSE THERE ARE TWO MATINGS, THE EXTERNAL MATING WITH YESOD, AND THE INTERNAL MATING WITH TIFERET. THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD CLARIFIED ALL THIS TO THE OLD MAN FOR HIM TO UNDERSTAND ON HIS OWN.

296. THE FAITHFUL SHEPHERD ANSWERS THE VARIOUS QUESTIONS THAT FACE US. Why are there open and closed sections? WHY DOES the fringe have a fixed length and width, for the length of each fringe was determined as the size of twelve thumbs? WHY was the precept of the blue fixed at one-third twisted threads and two-thirds branched untwisted threads? WHY between each pair of knots IN THE FRINGES does there have to be A SPACE OF a full thumb's breadth? AND WHY SHOULD each link be triple, NAMELY THREE LOOPS? Also, why are Tefilin on the brain and against the heart? And why is the length of the straps to the heart on the left and to the navel on the right? And why does the strap of the hand Tefilin have to be wound three times round the middle finger?

297. HE ANSWERS: But the garment is certainly not important unless IT HAS three on three for each side OF THE FOUR SIDES, making twelve. And they represent the four garments of white THAT PARALLEL ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE FOUR LETTERS OF THE YUD HEI VAV HEI, and the four garments of gold THAT PARALLEL MALCHUT, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE FOUR LETTERS OF ADONAI, and the four garments of the ordinary priest, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF METATRON. In terms of the blessing of an ordinary priest, it is implied 'Let not the blessing of an ordinary man be considered lightly in your eyes'. AND, THEREFORE, the blue is one-third twisted thread, NAMELY BRAIDED, AS THIRTEEN LINKS ARE WOUND AROUND THE FRINGES, FOR IT IS PARALLEL TO THE FOUR GARMENTS OF WHITE, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF ZEIR ANPIN, WHO IS THE ROOT. And two-thirds are branched untwisted thread, FOR IT HAS TO HANG LOOSE, LIKE THE BRANCHES ON A TREE.

298. And every link MUST BE triple, MADE UP OF THREE, NAMELY OF THREE LOOPS. AND THE REASON IS THAT each tripling is from the side of holiness, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE THREE COLUMNS, as it is written: 'They proclaim you holy three times'. And Yisrael is made up of three parts, NAMELY PRIEST, LEVITES, AND YISRAEL in order to SUBJUGATE THE CAPTAINS (HEB. SHALISHIM - FROM SHALOSH (THREE)) OF THE OTHER SIDE, AS IT IS WRITTEN: "And captains over every one of them" (Shemot 14:7). For the fringe is from the side of the Central Column, WHICH IS TIFERET, which is the third of the patriarchs, FOR THE PATRIARCHS ARE CHESED, GVURAH, AND TIFERET. And everything that comes in threes HAS ITS ROOT IN THE 72-LETTER THAT STARTS WITH 'Vav Hei Vav', 'Yud Lamed Yud', IN WHICH every word consists of three LETTERS. From its point of view, every link is composed of three triple loops, AND THE LINK is the Shechinah, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF 'They proclaim You holy three times', and is tripled in the Central Column, FOR IT RECEIVES FROM THE CENTRAL COLUMN THE THREE COLUMNS THAT ARE IN IT. THUS is it made up of the three branches of the patriarchs, NAMELY OF NETZACH, HOD, AND YESOD, WHICH ARE THE BRANCHES OF CHESED, GVURAH, AND TIFERET, WHICH ARE CALLED 'THE PATRIARCHS'. And they are the letter Shin from the word 'Shabbat', WHICH HAS THREE HEADS, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF NETZACH, HOD, AND YESOD. THE 'BAT' FROM THE WORD SHABBAT ALLUDES TO the Shechinah, who is an only daughter (Heb. bat), WHICH IS THE SECRET OF the link, AND THE SECRET OF the blue that is in the Tzitzit.

299. Happy is the body who is thus marked with the Shechinah and the Holy One, blessed be He, through the wings of a precept, NAMELY WITH THE THIRTEEN LINKS IN THE PRECEPT OF THE FRINGE, and marked with the strap of the hand Tefilin, on the middle finger with three loops, which is like a link, wound around with three loops round the finger. THIS ALSO PARALLELS THE THREE COLUMNS, JUST LIKE THE LINK OF THE FRINGE, AND THERE ARE FOURTEEN LINKS. And it is marked with the knot of the Tefilin that consists of two knots, THE ONE ON THE HEAD AND THE OTHER ON THE ARM, FOR THEY ALSO ARE TRIPLE. And altogether there are fifteen triplets, FOR two knots in one knot IS ALSO CONSIDERED A TRIPLE, MAKING, THEREFORE, FIFTEEN TRIPLES.

300. The thirteen TRIPLE links contain 39 loops, as the numerical value of the word 'dew' (Heb. TAL = 39), which, together with the thirteen links THEMSELVES that have the numerical value of the word 'one' (Heb. echad = thirteen), adds up to 'son' (Heb. ben = 52). And this hints at the son of Yud Hei, which is the Central Column, ZEIR ANPIN.

301. Each knot is in the form of a right palm. Each link is in the form of a finger with three joints, paralleling the three loops, and so it is that all the fingers have three joints except the thumb THAT HAS JUST TWO. And it is the thumb that gives the distance between each pair of knots in the fringe, FOR THERE HAS TO BE A SPACE BETWEEN THEM OF A full thumb-breadth, and this is the same measurement as the nose, the width of the right and left eye, the distance between the eyes, the measurement of the right and left ear, and of each lip, and of the tongue. "and the curtains shall be all of one measure" (Shemot 26:2).

302. Cubit (lit. 'arm') is the measure of the body in four directions and up and down, making six cubits. And each arm has three joints, NAMELY THE ASPECT OF THREE COLUMNS, making eighteen joints in the six cubits, being the secret of the eighteen wavings with WHICH WE WAVE the Lulav in six directions, three in each direction. And about them it is said: "This your stature is like a palm-tree" (Shir Hashirim 7:8). FOR A PALM-TREE GROWS IN SEVENTY YEARS, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE SEVEN LOWER SFIROT THAT ARE IN THE BODY, WHERE CHOCHMAH, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE STATURE, IS REVEALED, AND NOT IN THE HEAD, AS EXPLAINED ABOVE. AND THEREFORE THE STATURE, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE FIRST THREE, IS LIKENED TO A PALM-TREE. And this is the height of the stature, THAT IT IS ONLY IN THE BODY, that the gathering (Heb. mikveh) of Yisrael WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN BESTOWS upon the Shechinah, FOR THE LETTERS OF THE WORD MIKVEH, REARRANGED, SPELL 'STATURE' (Heb. KOMAH). THAT IS TO SAY, ZEIR ANPIN EMANATES THIS STATURE OF BODY TO MALCHUT. AND WE WAVE THE LULAV FOUR TIMES WHEN WE RECITE HALEL. This makes four times eighteen, which is 72, FOR THE 72-LETTER NAME IS THE ROOT OF THE THREE COLUMNS, AND IS THE SECRET OF THE THREE VERSES: "AND THE ANGEL OF ELOHIM, WHO WENT BEFORE THE CAMP OF YISRAEL, REMOVED...AND IT CAME... AND MOSES STRETCHED OUT" (SHEMOT 14:19-21).

303. And the secret of the living creatures, their stature IS THE SECRET OF THE VERSE: "As for their rims, they were so high that they were dreadful, and their rims" (Yechezkel 1:18). "Their rims" refers to the four living creatures of the lower Chariot, WHICH ARE FROM MALCHUT. "they were so high" refers to the four living creatures of the central Chariot, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF ZEIR ANPIN. "and their rims" refers to the four living creatures of the third Chariot, THAT ARE FROM BINAH, all of them together being 12. And THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES OF THE THIRD CHARIOT are "full of eyes round about them four," NAMELY ROUND ABOUT THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES OF THE THIRD UPPER CHARIOT, which is the secret of Yud Hei Vav Hei; Yud Hei Vav Hei; Yud Hei Vav Hei, THAT IS TO SAY, THE SECRET OF THE THREE YUD HEI VAV HEI IN 'HASHEM REIGNS, HASHEM REIGNED, HASHEM WILL REIGN FOR EVER AND EVER'; AND THEY HAVE A TOTAL OF TWELVE LETTERS BETWEEN THEM. 'HASHEM REIGNS', WITH THE VOWEL SEGOL (E), REFERS TO THE CENTRAL CHARIOT; 'HASHEM REIGNED', WITH PATACH (A) TO THE THIRD UPPER CHARIOT; AND 'HASHEM WILL REIGN' TO THE LOWER CHARIOT.

Pesach Haggadah - "The Telling of Passover"

Counting The Omer

What is the Omer?

In the days of the Holy Temple, the Jewish people would bring a barley offering on the second day of Passover (Leviticus 23:10). This was called the "Omer" (literally, "sheaf") and in practical terms would permit the consumption of recently-harvested grains.

Starting on the second day of Passover, the Torah (Leviticus 23:15) says it is a mitzvah every day to "count the Omer" -- the 50 days leading up to Shavuot. This is an important period of growth and introspection, in preparation for the holiday of Shavuot which arrives 50 days later.

Shavuot is the day that the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, and as such required a seven-week preparation period. The commentators say that we were freed from Egypt only in order to receive the Torah and to fulfill it. Thus we were commanded to count from the second day of Pesach until the day that the Torah was given -- to show how greatly we desire the Torah.

How to Count the Omer

The Omer is counted every evening after nightfall (approx. 30 minutes after sunset), which is the start of the Jewish 'day.' (In the synagogue it is counted toward the end of the Maariv service.) If a person neglected to count the Omer one evening, he should count the following daytime, but without a blessing.

To properly 'count the Omer,' you must say both the number of days and the weeks. For example:

On days 1-6, we say only the number of days. For example:

"Today is 4 days of the Omer."

On days which are complete weeks -- e.g. 7, 14, 21 -- we say as follows, for example:

"Today is 21 days, which is 3 weeks of the Omer."

On all other days, we say, for example:

"Today is 33 days, which is 4 weeks and 5 days of the Omer."

(Since you must recite the blessing before you count, don't mention the count for that night beforehand.)

Before counting, stand and say the following blessing:

Baruch ata Adonoy, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu be'mitzvo'sav ve-tzivanu al sefiras ha'omer.

Blessed are You, God, King of the Universe, Who made us holy with His commandments, and commanded us on the counting of the Omer.

The Omer may be counted with a blessing only if both of the following conditions have been met:

1) you count the Omer during the evening, and
2) you have not missed counting any of the days so far

This means to say that if a person neglected to count the Omer for an entire day and did not recall until the following evening, he should continue counting on subsequent days -- but without a blessing.

Why can't you "continue counting with a blessing" if you miss counting one day?

The reason is because regarding the Omer, the Torah writes: "Seven weeks, they shall be complete" (Leviticus 23:15). Thus according to many authorities, if one missed counting any day, the 7-week period can no longer be considered 'complete'.

Restrictions During the Omer

The Talmud tells us that Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students who tragically died during the Omer period, because they did not treat each other with sufficient respect. Therefore, for the 33 days from Passover until Lag B'Omer, we observe these signs of mourning:

1) no weddings

2) not listening to instrumental music, either live or recorded (vocal music is permitted)

3) no haircuts or shaving, unless for business purposes

[Note: According to some customs, the 33-day mourning period begins a few weeks later -- on the first of Iyar, and ends on the third of Sivan.]

48 Ways

Each day of the Omer is related to a different level of the kabbalistic "Sefirot," the emanations through which God interacts with the world. (see: Kabbalah 101) Each of the seven weeks is associated with one of seven Sefirot, and each day within each of the seven weeks is associated also with one of the same seven Sefirot -- thus creating 49 permutations. Each day during the Omer, we focus on a different aspect of the Sefirot, with the hopes of attaining spiritual improvement in that specific area.

Specifically, since Rabbi Akiva's students showed a lack of proper respect, during the Omer period we try to look for the best way to treat our family, friends and acquaintances, so that we may make a "tikkun" (spiritual correction) on the mistakes of the past.

The Talmud (Avot 6:5) says that "Torah is acquired through 48 ways." Thus during the weeks leading up to Shavuot, many have the custom to prepare to "receive the Torah" by studying the 48 Ways. One popular method is to learn a lesson each day of Rabbi Noah Weinberg's series, the "48 Ways"; there is both a text and audio version available online.

Lag B'Omer

Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer ('Lag' has a numerical value of 33), marks the date of death of one of the greatest Talmudic sages, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. This is a day of great celebration, because tradition says that on his death bed Rabbi Shimon revealed the secrets of the Zohar, the primary book of Jewish mysticism (kabbalah).

For centuries, Lag B'Omer has been a day of pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon in the Galilee town of Meiron. In one day, an estimated 250,000 Jews visit Meiron -- dancing, praying, and celebrating the wonderful spiritual gifts that Rabbi Shimon bequeathed to us. Many people camp out for days beforehand in anticipation.

To celebrate Lag B'Omer, Jews from around Israel light bonfires, to commemorate the great mystical illuminations that Rabbi Shimon revealed. For weeks before, Israeli children scavenge wood to arrange as impressive sculptures -- often 20 and 30 feet high. Great public celebrations are held and the wood towers are burned on Lag B'Omer.

This article can also be read at: ""

Chol HaMo'ed Pesach

Today's Hebrew date is:
17 Nisan 5769.

This week's portion is
Chol HaMo'ed Pesach | חול המועד פסח | "Intermediate Day of Passover"

Exodus 33

12And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

13Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

14And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

15And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

16For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

18And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

19And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

20And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

21And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

22And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

23And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Exodus 34

Exodus 34

1And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

2And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.

3And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.

4And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.

5And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

6And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

8And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

9And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O LORD, let my LORD, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

10And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

11Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

12Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:

13But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:

14For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

15Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;

16And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

17Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

18The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

19All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.

20But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.

21Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

22And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.

23Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.

24For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year.

25Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.

26The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

Ezekiel 37

1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,

2And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

3And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

4Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

5Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

7So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

8And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

9Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

11Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

12Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

13And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

14And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

PESACH Passover Ex. 12:21-51, Josh. 3:5-7, 5:2-15, 6:1, 27, Jn.1:29-31, 10:14-18

PESACH Passover

Ex. 12:21-51, Josh. 3:5-7, 5:2-15, 6:1, 27, Jn.1:29-31, 10:14-18


21Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.

22And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

23For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

24And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.

25And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

26And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

27That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

28And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

29And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

30And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

31And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.

32Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.

33And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.

34And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.

35And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

36And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

37And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.

38And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

39And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.

40Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.

41And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

42It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

43And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

44But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.

45A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.

46In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.

47All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

48And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.

49One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

50Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

51And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.


5And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

6And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

7And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.


2At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

3And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

4And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.

5Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.

6For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

7And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.

8And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.

9And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.

10And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

11And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.

12And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

13And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

14And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

15And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

Joshua 6

1Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

27So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.


29The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.


14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Birkat Hachama - Blessing of the Sun - Every 28 years!

God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times—the days and the years; and they shall serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that this was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
-- Genesis 1:14—19

Birkat Hachama
(ברכת החמה, "Blessing for the Sun") refers to a Jewish Blessing that is recited in appreciation of the Sun once every twenty-eight years, when the vernal equinox as calculated by tradition falls on a Tuesday (the Third Day) at sundown. Jewish tradition says that when the Sun completes this cycle, it has returned to its position when the world was created.

Rabbi Abaye said: “Every twenty-eight years the major solar cycle begins again and the Nisan
equinox falls in the hour of Saturn on the evening of Tuesday which is the night before Wednesday.”

According to Jewish tradition, the sun was created at the spring equinox, the first hour of the night before the fourth day of Creation. Every 10,227 days – according to the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Berachot 59b – the sun returns to its position at Creation. As codified in the Shulchan Aruch and on the basis of intricate calculations reconciling the Jewish and Gregorian calendars, Birkat HaChammah, a prayer service marking this 28-year cycle, is conducted on a Wednesday in the month of Nissan, when the sun is about 90 degrees above the eastern horizon.

The year 5769 is such a year. The Blessing of the Sun takes place on April 8, 2009 (erev Pesach).

"ברוך אתה ה' אלהינו מלך העולם עושה מעשה בראשית"
"Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe who makes the works of Creation."

Order of the service

The service generally includes:

  • Psalms 148:1-6
  • The blessing: "Baruch Atah A-donai E-loheinu Melech Ha`olam Oseh Ma`aseh Breishit."
  • Psalm 19
  • Psalm 121
  • Psalm 150
  • A passage from the Talmud regarding the obligation of Birkat Hachama.
  • Psalm 67
  • Aleinu
  • The mourner's Kaddish.

Shehecheyanu is not recited, because this blessing is only a blessing of praise, just as no shehecheyanu is recited when making the annual blessing on fruit trees.

Birkat Hachama will occur next on

(Wednesday is cited as the day instead of Tuesday - because the biblical day begins at sunset of the prior day)

  • Wednesday, April 8, 2009 (14 Nisan 5769) =====> Tuesday at Sunset
  • Wednesday, April 8, 2037 (23 Nisan 5797)
  • Wednesday, April 8, 2065 (2 Nisan 5825)
  • Wednesday, April 8, 2093 (12 Nisan 5853)
  • Wednesday, April 9, 2121 (21 Nisan 5881)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Feast of Unleavened Bread

Per Joseph Dummond:
As we are told in Lev 23 we now count forward by 14 days to Passover day which will be from Thursday April 9, to Friday April 10.
The First Day of Unleavened Bread will be on the weekly Shabbat from Friday April 10 to Saturday April 11, 2009.
The Wave Sheaf Offering day or Day of First Fruits will remain Sunday April 12 2009. This is the day we begin to count the Omer from, for 50 days until the Sunday May 31st which is Pentecost.
The Last Day of Unleavened Bread is Thursday April 16 to Friday April 17 2009

Exodus 12:
14And this day shall be to you for a memorial. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations, keep it as an ordinance forever. 15[In celebration of the Passover in future years] seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven [symbolic of corruption] out of your houses; for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16On the first day you shall hold a solemn and holy assembly, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn and holy assembly; no kind of work shall be done in them, save [preparation of] that which every person must eat--that only may be done by you. 17And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore shall you observe this day throughout your generations as an ordinance forever.18In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread [and continue] until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.19Seven days no leaven [symbolic of corruption] shall be found in your houses; whoever eats what is leavened shall be excluded from the congregation of Israel, whether a stranger or native-born. 20You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread [during that week].

Exodus 13:6-8 (New International Version)

6 For seven days eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day hold a festival to the LORD. 7 Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. 8 On that day tell your son, 'I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'

Exodus 23:14-16 (New International Version)

The Three Annual Festivals
14 "Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me.

15 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
"No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

Exodus 34:18 (New International Version)

18 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt.

Leviticus 23 (New International Version)

Leviticus 23

The Passover and Unleavened Bread

4 " 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. 7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. 8 For seven days present an offering made to the LORD by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.' "

Matthew 26:17-18 (New International Version)

The Lord's Supper
17On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

18He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.' "

Acts 12:2-4 (New International Version)

2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

Acts 20:5-7 (New International Version)

5These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (King James Version)

6 Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.