Friday, April 18, 2014

Sefirah and Aleph-Bet Combination for Passover, Shabat, 19th of Nissan, 5774

Shabat is the fourth day of Week 29 and the fourth day of the Omer (the cycle of Hod, Glory/Acknowledgement), Netzach shebeChesed (shebeHod)Victory/Endurance within Kindness (within Glory/Acknowledgement).

Shabat is also the second day of the tenth 22-day cycle of the year, related to the letters Kuf and Reish. The following verse from Chapter 2 of the Book of Lamentations is connected to the second letter, the Beit:

2. The Lord has destroyed and has had no pity on all the habitations of Jacob; in His wrath He has broken down the strongholds of Judah; He has struck [them] to the ground; He has profaned the kingdom and its princes.

ב. בִּלַּע אֲדֹנָי וְלֹא חָמַל אֵת כָּל נְאוֹת יַעֲקֹב הָרַס בְּעֶבְרָתוֹ מִבְצְרֵי בַת יְהוּדָה הִגִּיעַ לָאָרֶץ חִלֵּל מַמְלָכָה וְשָׂרֶיהָ:

2. The Lord swallowed [his anger] and [said] "No!" He had pity on all the habitations of Jacob. He broke down His wrath. The strongholds of Judah He guided to the land, empty of its king and its princes.

For the full 5774 Sefirah combination calendar click here. For 5774 Aleph-Bet combination calendar click here. For an explanation of the Sefirot, click here.

Week 29 (Book 5): Reviewing the Fourth Week of Nissan - Psalms 85-87; 90:5-7; 89:30

PSALMS (Introductions and Translations from Chabad.org):



Chapter 85

In this prayer, lamenting the long and bitter exile, the psalmist asks why this exile is longer than the previous ones, and implores G-d to quickly fulfill His promise to redeem us. Every individual should offer this psalm when in distress.

1. For the Conductor, a psalm by the sons of Korach. 2. O Lord, You favored Your land; You returned the captives of Jacob. 3. You forgave the iniquity of Your people, and covered all their sin forever. 4. You withdrew all Your fury, and retreated from Your fierce anger. 5. Return us, O G-d of our salvation, and annul Your anger toward us. 6. Will You forever be angry with us? Will You draw out Your anger over all generations? 7. Is it not true that You will revive us again, and Your people will rejoice in You? 8. Show us Your kindness, O Lord, and grant us Your deliverance. 9. I hear what the Almighty Lord will say; for He speaks peace to His nation and to His pious ones, and they will not return to folly. 10. Indeed, His deliverance is near those who fear Him, that [His] glory may dwell in the land. 11. Kindness and truth have met; righteousness and peace have kissed. 12. Truth will sprout from the earth, and righteousness will peer from heaven. 13. The Lord, too, will bestow goodness, and our land will yield its produce. 14. Righteousness shall walk before him, and he shall set his footsteps in [its] path.


Chapter 86

This psalm contains many prayers regarding David's troubles, and his enemies Doeg and Achitophel. It also includes many descriptions of G-d's praise. Every individual can offer this psalm when in distress.

1. A prayer by David. Lord, turn Your ear, answer me, for I am poor and needy. 2. Guard my soul, for I am pious; You, my G-d, deliver Your servant who trusts in You. 3. Be gracious to me, my Lord, for to You I call all day. 4. Bring joy to the soul of Your servant, for to You, my Lord, I lift my soul. 5. For You, my Lord, are good and forgiving, and exceedingly kind to all who call upon You. 6. Lord, hear my prayer and listen to the voice of my supplications. 7. On the day of my distress I call upon You, for You will answer me. 8. There is none like You among the supernal beings, my Lord, and there are no deeds like Yours. 9. All the nations that You have made will come and bow down before You, my Lord, and give honor to Your Name, 10. for You are great and perform wonders, You alone, O G-d. 11. Lord, teach me Your way that I may walk in Your truth; unify my heart to fear Your Name. 12. I will praise You, my Lord, my G-d, with all my heart, and give honor to Your Name forever. 13. For Your kindness to me has been great; You have saved my soul from the depth of the grave. 14. O G-d, malicious men have risen against me; a band of ruthless men has sought my soul; they are not mindful of You. 15. But You, my Lord, are a compassionate and gracious G-d, slow to anger and abounding in kindness and truth. 16. Turn to me and be gracious to me; grant Your strength to Your servant, and deliver the son of Your maidservant. 17. Show me a sign of favor, that my foes may see and be shamed, because You, Lord, have given me aid and consoled me.


Chapter 87

Composed to be sung in the Holy Temple, this psalm praises the glory of Jerusalem, a city that produces many great scholars, eminent personalities, and persons of good deeds. It also speaks of the good that will occur in the Messianic era.

1. By the sons of Korach, a psalm, a song devoted to the holy mountains [of Zion and Jerusalem]. 2. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. 3. Glorious things are spoken of you, eternal city of G-d. 4. I will remind Rahav Egypt and Babylon concerning My beloved; Philistia and Tyre as well as Ethiopia, "This one was born there.” 5. And to Zion will be said, "This person and that was born there"; and He, the Most High, will establish it. 6. The Lord will count in the register of people, "This one was born there," Selah. 7. Singers as well as dancers [will sing your praise and say], "All my inner thoughts are of you."


TIKKUN HAKLALI

Chapter 90

5. You carry them away as a flood; they are like a sleep; in the morning, like grass it passes away.
6. In the morning, it blossoms and passes away; in the evening, it is cut off and withers.
7. For we perish from Your wrath, and from Your anger we are dismayed.


PSALM 89

30. And I shall make his seed endure forever, and his throne as the days of the heavens.

Week 29 (Book 4b): Feeling Chosen (Our Special Bond with G-d)


SONG OF SONGS:
8. There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and innumerable maidens.
9. My dove, my perfect one, is but one; she is one to her mother, she is the pure one of she who bore her; daughters saw her and praised her, queens and concubines, and they lauded her;
10. Who is this who looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as the bannered legions?"

70 SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPTH: Zebulun

TALMUD SHEVUOT: Daf 29 - Oaths that are related to the supernatural and/or are contradicted by actions

BOOKS OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 29

Week 29 in the Jewish calendar is the week of Passover. The verses of Shir HaShirim of this week single out the Jewish people among all the nations of the world; its speaks of being being pure and praised by the one who “bore her.” It was on Passover after all that the Jews were truly born as a nation. It was specifically on the Seventh Day of Passover, when the Sea of Reeds split this week, that this distinction became the most clear, and the other nations so fearful.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the twenty-ninth mentioned is Zebulun. Zebulun comes from the word Yizbeleni, in Leah’s prophecy, which means “he will make one’s chief dwelling with me.” The words parallel the above words of Shir HaShirim. On Passover is when it becomes clear that we are chosen above the other nations. Passover is also the first step towards the creation of the Mishkan – the whole purpose of leaving Egypt is to serve Hashem and to have his dwelling be among the people.

Daf Kaf Chet (Folio 29) of Shvuot speaks of laws of sacrifices (like the Korban Pessach) brought for breaking a two-part oath (related to not eating figs and grapes), as well as the laws of vain oaths, and imposing an oath on someone else. These discussions also include references to oaths made over a loaf of bread. Vain oaths are those that contradict what people know to be true, things that are impossible, such as camels flying or a serpent the size of an olive press. Vain oaths are also those that directly contradict a previous oath, such as: “If one said 'I swear that I will eat this loaf, I swear that I will not eat it.” The Splitting of the Sea was something that contradicted what everyone knew to be true, and contradicted the very nature of the Sea, and apparently even the oath made by Hashem that the waters of Noah would never again pass over the earth. (Isaiah 54:9) Nevertheless, Moshe imposes an action upon the Sea of Reeds, in order to fulfill Hashem’s oath to Abraham, and the Jewish people’s oath to Joseph (regarding the burial of his bones in Israel). In fact, the Midrash Tehillim teaches that the sea only split when it saw Joseph’s casket.

Chapter 29 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It speaks of redemption from exile, in the form of an oath (which was indeed fulfilled), and also of a special bond between the Jewish people and G-d (seeking G-d and finding Him), and once again being held in distinction from all the nations. Conversely, those that do not go to Babylon will have such a miserable future (like loathsome figs) that those that witness will make oaths.

10. For so said the Lord: For at the completion of seventy years of Babylon I will remember you, and I will fulfill My good word toward you, to restore you to this place.

11. For I know the thoughts that I think about you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  

12. And you shall call Me and go and pray to Me, and I will hearken to you.

13. And you will seek Me and find [Me] for you will seek Me with all your heart.  

14. And I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will return your captivity and gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will return you to the place whence I exiled you.  

15. For you have said: The Lord has set up prophets for us in Babylon.  

16. For so said the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David and concerning the entire people that dwells in this city: Your brethren who have not left with you into exile.  
 
17. So said the Lord of Hosts: Behold I incite upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and I will make them as the loathsome figs, which cannot be eaten because they are so bad.  

18. And I will pursue them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, for an oath, for astonishment, for hissing, and for a reproach among all the nations where I have exiled them.

Week 29 (Book 4a): Forgiving of (Personal) Insults


STORY OF CHANNAH: 1. And Hannah prayed and said: "My heart has rejoiced through the Lord; My horn has been raised by the Lord. My mouth is opened wide against my enemies, For I have rejoiced in Your salvation.

QUALITY OF THOSE THAT STUDY TORAH FOR ITS OWN SAKE: and forgiving of insults  

PROVERBS: Chapter 29

TZADIKKIM: Rav Aharon HaGadol of Karlin (19th Nissan) and Rebbe Yitzchak Vorki (22nd of Nissan)    

Week 29 is the week Passover. The verse from the story of Channah for this week marks the beginning of her song. She exalts the Hashem and speaks of His salvation, and how she now rejoices over her enemies. Passover is also a time of great rejoicing, thanking Him for His salvation in the face of our enemies.

The Pirkei Avot adjective of this week is that Torah makes him “forgiving of insults.” This seems like a particularly difficult adjective to compare with the words of Channah above. Channah makes a point of mentioning how she was victorious over her enemies and, as if to add insult to injury, Rashi specifically comments that Channah meant none other than her husband’s other wife, Peninah, who had insulted her constantly for not having children. We also learn that Peninah also paid a heavy price for her insults, eventually losing all her children (may no one ever know of such sorrow). How then can one reconcile these two apparently contradicting trends?

One answer is simply to say that the fact that Channah does not mention Peninah by name shows that she was not bitter, and she had in fact forgiven the insults of her competitor. This seems like a difficult answer because, after all, Channah still calls Peninah her enemy, even after Shmuel is born.

Perhaps a deeper answer lies within Pirkei Avot itself. The Hebrew word for “insult” used is Elbonoh. The word is used again in the next section of Pirkei Avot, and appears to be the only similarity linking the two sections (other than the general importance of Torah study, which is a theme of the entire chapter). The latter statement reads as follows: “Said Rabbi Joshua the son of Levi: Every day, an echo resounds from Mount Horeb (Sinai) proclaiming and saying: "Woe is to the creatures for their insult (Elbonah) to the Torah."
It is the obligation of a sage to protect the honor of the Torah and of those who study it, and while he may forgive the insults to him or herself, he or she cannot forgive the insults to the Torah and to Hashem. 

Rabbi Levi states in Bava Bathra 16a that Peninah’s intentions were pure, and that she simply wished to make Channah pray more fiercely. Nonetheless, to constantly insult such a righteous woman as Channah, wife of one of the leaders of the generation, went beyond personal animosity. It was an affront to the Torah itself.

We see a similar concept in our redemption from Egypt. The punishments the Egyptians received were not simply a quid pro quo for their actions against the Jews. Pharaoh’s lack of knowledge (and acknowledgement) of Hashem was an affront to the Torah (even though the Torah had not yet been given). Similarly, the Jews are told to avenge Midian, not out of a sense of vengefulness, but because the actions of the Midianites (using their own daughters to entice the Jews) was an affront to Torah itself.[1]

Chapter 28 of the Book of Proverbs contains many of the above themes. Many of its verses speak of forgiving insult and calming tension:

8. Scornful men inflame a city, but the wise turn away wrath.                    
9. When a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether he is angry or he laughs, he will have no contentment.                        
10. Murderous men hate the innocent, but the upright seek his soul.           
11. A fool lets out all his wind, but afterwards a wise man will quiet it.                 

Nevertheless, the verses of this chapter also speak of the great punishments that befall those that insult the Torah:

15. A rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left free brings shame to his mother.         
16. When the wicked attain greatness, transgression increases, and the righteous will see their downfall.  
17. Chastise your son and he will give you rest, and he will grant pleasures to your soul.              
18. Without vision the people become unrestrained, but he who keeps the Torah is fortunate.

This week includes the yahrzeits of two well known early founders of the Chassidic movement: Rabbi Aharon the Great of Karlin (19th of Nissan) and Rabbi Yitzchak Kalish of Vorka (22nd of Nissan). Both were known for their profound love for their fellow Jews.

Rabbi Aharon of Karlin was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch. Karlin was such a large and prominent Chassidic group in Lithuania that at one point Chassidim in general were referred to as “Karliners.” “He is remembered for the ecstatic and unrestrained fervor of his prayer, for his solicitude for the needy, and for the moral teachings embodied in his Azharos (‘Warnings’).” (Ascent)

“Rabbi Yitzchak Kalish [1779 died 22 Nissan 1848] was the founder of the Vorki dynasty in Poland. Previously, through travel with his teacher, R. David of Lelov, he became a disciple of R. Yaakov Yitzchak (the "Seer") of Lublin and of R. Simchah Bunem of Pshischah. Some of his teachings and stories involving him appear in Ohel Yitzchak and Hutzak Chein. His son R. Yaakov David founded the Amshinov dynasty, while his son R. Menachem Mendel continued the Vorki dynasty.” (Ascent)

Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Yitzchak Twerski (First Rebbe of Skver, 17th of Nissan), Rabbi Meir Abuchatzeira (the “Baba Meir,” son of the Baba Sali, 17th of Nissan), and Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (the “Rav,” 18th of Nissan).



[1]http://www.maplewoodjewishcenter.org/page.asp?pageID=%7B77A39526-C265-4245-BA9A-E472E31418F5%7D

Tenth Set of 22 Days: Kuf and Reish, Wind and Lightning Bolts

Today, Friday, the 18th of Nissan, begins the tenth set of 22 days of the Jewish calendar, which parallels the letters Kuf and Reish, as well as the Wind and Lighting Bolts in Perek Shirah. This 22-day period comes in the middle of the Passover holiday, and extends until the 9th of Iyar, halfway through the counting of the Omer.

Kuf means "monkey," which is one of the primary symbols of impurity, Klippah, which itself begins with a Kuf. The Kuf is shaped like an imperfect Heh (which represents holiness), just like a monkey is an imperfect imitation of a human being. At the times that we behave properly, the Torah states that five (gematria of Heh) of us will chase one hundred (gematria of Kuf). 


On the other hand, Kuf can also stand for holiness itself, Kedushah, which also begins with the letter Kuf. We therefore see that the Kuf has potential for both holiness and unholiness, and represents the process of transformation from unholiness to holiness, just as during these days between Passover and Shavuot the Jews went from the 49th level of unholiness to the 49th level of holiness. Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh in his book, The Hebrew Letters, states that the Kuf represents the kabbalistic concept of "Redemption of Fallen Sparks." (p.280) In Kabbalah, redeeming the holy sparks is the very reason for our existence (Tikkun Olam, "fixing the world"), and the rationale behind our exile(s).

The next letter, the Reish, also represents a similar dual concept. It can stand for Rash (poor) or Rosh (head), just as the month of Nissan itself is both the head of all the months and yet a month of humility in which we eat the bread of poverty. Nissan represent Judah, the head of all the tribes, and yet someone who was humbly willing to accept his shortcomings and transform them. Similar to the Kuf, Rav Ginsburgh states that the Reish stands for Avodat HaBerurim (the service of clarification), which is also very much related to the redemption of the sparks mentioned above. Once the Avodat HaBerurim is completed, Mashiach (son of David, from Judah) will come and bring about the ingathering of the exiles and redemption.

Furthermore, the Zohar mentions that two letters Kuf and Reish together also have a poor connotation. They form part of the word Sheker, a lie. Kuf and Reish by themselves spell Kar, coldness, also associated with impurity (Raskin). Kuf and Reish are also the first two letters of the word Keri, a strong form of impurity associated with seminal emission, as well as with Amalek. Yet, when the last letter of the word Keri, the yud (which, like the Heh, stands for G-dliness) is placed in the beginning, in front of the Kuf and the Reish, it forms the word Yakar, which means "dear." Here too, we see that impurity can be transformed into a feeling of dearness and closeness to G-d.


A similar theme can be found in the Perek Shirah verses of the Wind and the Lightning Bolts:


The Wind is saying, “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not withhold; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:6)

The Lightning Bolts are saying, “He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings forth the wind from His storehouses." (Psalms 135:7)

The verses above are clearly related to the ingathering of the exiles. Both verses speak of the "ends of the earth." This is related to Passover, but also to Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. (See here, how theoretically Yom Ha'Atzma'ut could be celebrated as late as the 9th of Iyar, the 24th day of the Omer). 


Wind in Hebrew is "Ruach," which also means spirit. It is a word specifically connected to Mashiach, and the Haftorah we read for the last day of Passover. The verse of the wind specifically addresses two kinds of exile, north (Assyria) and south (Egypt), telling the forces of impurity to "give up" and "not withhold," elevating the sparks and transforming them into holiness.


The Lightning Bolts also bring to mind the miracles of Egypt and the giving of the Torah at Sinai (marked by both thunder and lightning). The verse also speaks of the Lightning Bolts making "vapors" ascend, which seems very much parallel to the concept of elevating the fallen sparks back to their source. In fact, Rav Ginsburgh mentions "vapor" as an aspect of elevating fallen sparks, related to both the Reish itself and the form of the Reish within the Kuf itself (made of a Reish and Zayin). Interestingly, the verse of the Lightning Bolts also mentions the wind.

The Temple guard for these 22 days is connected to the priestly family of Seorim. Seorim means sheaves of barley, which is exactly the material used for the Omer offering. The Omer is referred to in the Torah as 'Minchat Seorim," an offering of barley. This is connected to the Counting of the Omer done at this time of year. 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sefirah and Aleph-Bet Combination for Passover, Friday, 18th of Nissan, 5774

Friday is the third day of Week 29 and the third day of the Omer (the cycle of Hod, Glory/Acknowledgement), Tiferet shebeChesed (shebeHod)Balance/Beauty within Kindness (within Glory/Acknowledgement).

Friday is also the first day of the tenth 22-day cycle of the year, related to the letters Kuf and Reish. The following verse from Chapter 2 of the Book of Lamentations is connected to the first letter, the Alef:

1. How has the Lord in His anger brought darkness upon the daughter of Zion! He has cast down from heaven to earth the glory of Israel, and has not remembered His footstool on the day of His anger.

א. אֵיכָה יָעִיב בְּאַפּוֹ | אֲדֹנָי אֶת בַּת צִיּוֹן הִשְׁלִיךְ מִשָּׁמַיִם אֶרֶץ תִּפְאֶרֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא זָכַר הֲדֹם רַגְלָיו בְּיוֹם אַפּוֹ:

This verse can be interpreted in a positive light (See Book 2) as follows:

1. How has the Lord concealed His anger! The daughter of Zion He has sent down from heaven to the land of glory, Israel, and no longer remembers [what had happened in the past to] His footstool on the day of His anger.



For the full 5774 Sefirah combination calendar click here. For 5774 Aleph-Bet combination calendar click here. For an explanation of the Sefirot, click here.

Week 29 (Book 2): Jonah, Gechazi, and Placing a Fence Around One's Words


HAAZINU: If [only] they were wise and would understand this; they would reflect upon their fate. (Deuteronomy 32:29)

HAFTORAH: For You are my lamp, O' Lord; And the Lord does light my darkness. (II Samuel 22:29)

QUALITY FOR ACQUIRING THE TORAH: He Who Makes A Fence Around His Words

PROPHET: Jonah ben Amittai

LEVITICAL CITY: Juttah

The twenty-ninth week of the year is the week of Passover, days two through eight. In the verse of Haazinu, G-d asks that the Jewish people reflect upon their fate. The word for “fate” is Acharitam, which literally means “their end.” Much of Pessach is about reflecting not only about the previous redemption from Egypt, but also using the example of this first redemption to reflect upon the final one (Acharit k’Reshit, as we say in our prayers). In the Diaspora, the eighth day of Passover is celebrated, but in Hebrew that is not known as Shmini (Eighth) but rather Acharon shel Pessach, the Last [Day] of Passover. On that day, it is a Chassidic custom instituted by the Ba’al Shem Tov to have a Moshiach Seudah, a special meal in honor of the messianic redemption. In that meal, the Rebbe Rashab instituted that four cups of wine be drunk, just as at the Seder.

The Haftorah’s verse speaks of Hashem being our light in the times of darkness. Although we are still in the darkness of exile, connecting to G-d and to the final redemption brings light to it. During the first redemption, when Egypt was plagued with darkness, the Jewish people still had light.

The quality of this week is he who makes a fence around his words. During Pessach, and especially during the seder, we must be very careful with our words. Pessach stands for “Peh Sach,” the mouth talks.

This week’s prophet is Jonah, from the story of Jonah and the Whale. Jonah was also a disciple of Eliyahu and Elisha. He is very much represents the idea of putting a fence around one’s words, as he did not want to speak to the Assyrians in order not to help those that he foresaw were going to cause harm to the Jewish people. Even when on a stormy ship that was about to sink due to his refusal, he still did not want to speak. Jonah also is connected to the final redemption, as the Vilna Gaon explains he is a prototype for Mashiach ben Yosef. The story of Jonah is also connected to the redemption from Egypt, as the King of Nineveh is said to be no one other than Pharaoh himself.[1]

The levitical city for the week of Passover is Juttah. Juttah is spelled the same as “Yatteh” to turn, incline, or stretch one’s hand or arm. This word is found in the following passage in the Tanach:

3. Now the Egyptians are men and not G-d, and their horses are flesh and not spirit, and the Lord shall turn (“Yatteh”) His hand, and the helper shall stumble and the helped one shall fall, and together all of them shall perish.              
Rashi - shall turn His hand: For the Holy One, blessed be He, supports everything with His hand, and when He turns it, they will fall, like one who holds something in his hand, and when he inclines his hand, it falls. So is the Midrash Aggadah (Mechilta, Exodus 15:12). Jonathan, however, renders: shall raise the blow of His might.
This verse is extremely appropriate for the week of Passover, which includes the 7th day of Passover, when the Egyptian “horses and their riders” were thrown into the sea. It was during this time that G-d took us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm (Yad Chazakah v’haZroah Netuyah, the same root as the word Yuttah).
 


[1] Another student of Elisha who could very well have been the 29th prophet is Gechazi. However, the Tanach as well as the Oral tradition mention quite a few mistakes committed by Gechazi that likely caused him to miss the opportunity to be a major prophet. Because he does not place a fence around his words, Gechazi becomes a Metzorah. If one looks closely at those mistakes though, one will find that Gechazi contained a spark of Mashiach ben David, and that most likely his intentions were good, it is just that the actions were not appropriate for the time and place. Our sages teach us that it was he and his sons who were the Metzora’im by the gates of Aram, who end up saving the Jews at the time. Mashiach himself is also described in the Talmud as a Metzorah by the gates of Rome. (Sanhedrin 98a)
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Rabbi Daniel Kahane and Ann Helen Wainer have recently launched a new book, which promises to change the way scholars and laymen understand the Jewishcalendar as well as the structure of central Jewish texts. 

The book shows how the 52-day period spanning from Passover to Shavuot (Pentecost) is in fact a microcosm of the 52 weeks of the year. Additionally, it demonstrates how 52 rabbis and 52 animals listed in the sacred works Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of the Fathers”) and Perek Shirah (“Chapter of Song”) parallel the year’s weeks as well. Finally, the book explores the kabbalistic meaning behind the numbers and divine attributes (sefirot) related to each day from Passover to Shavuot known as the Counting of the Omer.

The Counting of the Omer has always been one of the key tools used by the Jewish People as a basis for spiritual development. The book expands its use to the entire year and shows amazing and eerie connections between how the weeks of the year and the days of the Omer parallel each other. “The basis for the entire book is one simple idea,” Rabbi Kahane says, “Just as the culmination of the Counting of the OmerLag Ba’Omer, falls on the 33rd day of the Omer, so too the week of Lag Ba’Omer falls on the 33rd week of the year. 

“The book’s use as a weapon against sadness should also not be underestimated,” exclaims Ann Helen Wainer, “its uplifting ideas and its connectedness to the song and harmony of nature, as well as the wisdom and foresight of our ancestors, is a true gift.”