Calendar

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Entire Book in a Nutshell (Table I of "The Kabbalah of Time")

Table of Contents:


Week 1: To Raise our Heads, Choose a Master, and Recognize G-d’s Oneness

Week 2: To Relate Well to Others and to Our Own Body

Week 3: To Be Happy, Balanced, and Secure in G-d

Week 4: To Take Responsibility for All, Yet Protecting Oneself from Bad Influences

Week 5: To Use All Tools Available in order to Elevate the World

Week 6: To Impact the World, Laying a Foundation for Future Generations

Week 7: To Recognize and Reveal the Divine Presence within Us and the World

Week 8: Not to Lose Focus on our Spirituality and Relationship with G-d 

Week 9: Fighting Darkness with Light

Week 10: To Trust in G-d’s Mercy

Week 11: Fighting Evil and Heresy, Yet Knowing How to Forgive 

Week 12: Revealing Warmth to Those that Are Cold and Indifferent

Week 13: To Publicize Miracles with Pride and Humility

Week 14: To Believe in Our Own Strength, which Comes from G-d

Week 15: Giving Proper Value to Torah and to the Presence of the Shechinah 

Week 16: To Use Adversity as a Way to Grow, Relying on G-d for Support

Week 17 (From the Book): To Pay Attention to G-d’s Guidance and to Trust in Our Redemption

Week 18 (From the Book): To Live in Harmony with Nature in a Manner that is Above Nature

Week 19 (From the Book): To Feel that G-d is Close Even When He Seems Far Away

Week 20 (From the Book): To Be Solid and Giving in Our Relationships

Week 21 (From the Book): To Keep Things in Perspective

Week 22 (From the Book): To Complement Each Other in Happiness

Week 23 (From the Book): To Be Happy Even Without Knowing Why Things Are the Way They Are

Week 24 : To Live Above Our Worldly Concerns

Week 25: To Have Self-Sacrifice in order to Fulfill Our Mission in Life

Week 26: To Be Humble and Let G-d Guide Us

Week 27: To Purify Ourselves in order to Change

Week 28: To Recognize our Limits in order to Free Ourselves from Them

Week 29 (From the Book): After the Initial Inspiration, To Get to Work

Week 30: To Know that the World Needs More Love and Respect

Week 31: To Be Proud of Our Humble Connection with G-d

Week 32: To Recognize Deep in Our Heart How Small We Are, How Great G-d Is

Week 33: To Recognize the Spiritual Treasures Hidden within Each One of Us 


Week 34 (from the Book): To Work in a Focused Manner and without Ego

Week 35 (From the Book): To Thank G-d in Unison

Week 36 (From the Book): To Have Emunah

Week 37 (From the Book): To Maintain our Humility and Not Forget the Greatness We Experienced

Week 38 (From the Book): To Be Strong and Courageous in order to Defend the Common Good

Week 39 (From the Book): To See the World in a Positive Light in Order to Elevate It

Week 40 (From the Book): To Fight for Truth

Week 41 (From the Book): Not to Become Corrupt

Week 42 (From the Book): To Be Loyal and Pursue Justice

Week 43 (From the Book): To Pursue the Enemy and to Pursue Peace

Week 44 (From the Book): To Recognize Our Mistakes and Change


Week 45 (From the Book): To Raise Ourselves Up Through Love and Humility

Week 46 (From the Book): To Know Our Place in Order to Be Truly Happy

Week 47 (From the Book): Time for Teshuvah (Return to G-d)!

Week 48 (From the Book): To Fight Coldness with Warmth

Week 49 (From the Book): To Bring More Light in Order to Extinguish Darkness Altogether

Week 50 (From the Book): To Know That There Are No Limits to Our Growth and Closeness 

Week 51 (From the Book): To Understand That We Are All One Soul

Week 52 (From the Book): To Crown G-d as Our King



The Counting of the Omer

The Counting of the Omer, known in Hebrew as Sefirat Ha'Omer, is a Torah commandment to count the weeks and days from which the omer sacrifice was offered in the Temple. This sacrifice was made of barley, which in those days was primarily an animal food, and had the Biblical measurement of one omer. The counting takes place every year during the 49 days between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost).

The Counting of the Omer has always been used by the Jewish People as a basis for spiritual development. In Egypt, the Jewish People had reached the 49th level of spiritual impurity. During the first 49 days that followed their escape from Egypt, the Jewish people gradually purified itself, until it reached the 49th level of purity. Within but seven weeks, upon reaching Mount Sinai, the Jewish people had become so spiritually and emotionally refined that the entire nation was able to encamp there in complete harmony, peace, and unity: “as one person with one heart.”[1] It was only in this way that they merited to receive the Torah. 

During the omer count performed every year between Passover and Shavuot, there is a custom to spend each day concentrating on a different combination of sefirotSefirot, as further explained below, are Divine attributes which are also found within every individual. By doing so, it is possible to obtain a level of spiritual and emotional improvement similar to what the Jewish people achieved after leaving Egypt.

The Counting of the Omer takes places mostly during the Jewish month of Iyar, a month known for its healing powers. A hint of Iyar’s connection to healing is found within the letters of its name, alefyud and reish, an acronym from the biblical verse Ani Hashem Rofechah, “I am G-d your Healer.”[2]

Besides from being a time of great spiritual elevation and healing, unfortunately the omer is also a reminder of a sad period in the history of the Jewish people. Twenty-four thousand students of Rabbi Akiva passed away during these days. They suffered from a plague inflicted due to their lack of unity and respect for one another, the very opposite of what characterized the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai.

The plague ended on the 33rd day of the omer, known as Lag Ba’Omer. This is one of the reasons why this date is so commemorated. Another reason for celebrating Lag Ba’Omer is because it is the yahrzeit – the anniversary of the passing – of the great tzadik Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who died many years after the plague. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, himself a student of Rabbi Akiva, is the author of the Zohar, the basic and most important text of the Kabbalah.[3]

The order in which the combination of sefirot takes place for each day of the omer follows a very simple principle. As further explained below, there are seven emotional sefirot, and since the Counting of the Omer occurs over seven weeks, each week represents one sefirah. The first week represents the first sefirahchesed (kindness), while the second week represents the second sefirahgevurah (discipline), and so forth. Furthermore, each day within each week represents a subdivision of one of the seven emotional sefirot within that sefirah. For example, the first day of the omer represents the attribute of chesed within chesed (chesed shebechesed), as it is the first day of the first week. The second day of the first week represents the attribute of gevurah within chesed (gevurah shebechesed). Lag Ba'Omer is the fifth day of the fifth week. The fifth sefirah is hod, and therefore Lag Ba’Omer represents hod shebehod. The sefirot combinations of each day of the omer are found in most prayerbooks.

Furthermore, the most basic element in the commandment of the Counting of the Omer is to give each day a specific number. Numbers in Judaism have tremendous meaning that goes much beyond their day-to-day usage. Each number has kabbalistic significance, and each letter in the Jewish calendar has a numerical value.

Incredibly, just as Lag Ba’Omer takes place on the thirty-third day of the omer,  two thirds into the counting between Passover and Shavuot, so too – and this is quite remarkable – the week of Lag Ba’Omer falls two thirds into the Jewish year, exactly on the thirty-third week! Each week of the year therefore parallels each day of the Counting of the Omer, and each week is connected to the sefirah combination for that day. It is therefore possible to work on oneself through the sefirot and the numbers related to the omer during the entire year.[4] (See Calendar)

Pirkei Avot and Perek Shirah
In addition, from Passover to Shavuot, in most religious Jewish communities there is a custom to study the Pirkei Avot, also as a mechanism of self-improvement. Pirkei Avot, which literally means “Chapters of the Fathers,” is part of the Mishnah (the Oral Torah) compiled by Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi. In these chapters, each of the main rabbis of the generation writes in concise form what he considers to be most important in order to live ethically and in accordance with the principles of the Torah. Pirkei Avot can also be understood as “Father Chapters,” since these chapters include the fundamental principles for the study and fulfillment of the rest of the Torah. In this sense, the teachings of Pirkei Avot are like "parents," and the rest of the Torah’s teachings are like their children.[5] 

This book shows how the teachings of rabbis found within the first four chapters of Pirkei Avot are organized in such a way that each rabbi corresponds to a week of the year. Similarly, this book will show how this weekly method of self-improvement is also related to each animal of Perek Shirah.[6]

Perek Shirah, which means Chapter of Song, is an ancient text that is not very well known, as it has been published only in a handful of prayerbooks around the world. While the authorship of this work is not certain, many attribute it to King David. Perek Shirah itself hints to David’s authorship as it describes his interaction with a frog immediately following the completion of the Book of Psalms. In this conversation, the frog exclaims, “David! Do not become proud, for I recite more songs and praises than you.” 

Among sacred Jewish texts, Perek Shirah is a pioneer when it comes to the environment. It is a work of enormous lyricism and exaltation of the Creator, including songs from the sun and the moon, Heaven and Earth, as well as from various members of the plant and animal kingdoms. The praises found in this book are like a great orchestra in which, instead of musicians, each element and living being contributes to a beautiful and emotional masterpiece. That result is the best possible exclamation of G-d’s greatness by all of His Creation.

It is extraordinary that of all the different elements and creatures listed in Perek Shirah that glorify the Creator, there are exactly fifty-two animals in Perek Shirah, one for each week of the solar year.[7]

In Judaism, as well as in many other cultures, it is well known that humans can learn many important lessons on how to behave by observing animals and nature. The Book of Job, for example, teaches that we should learn how to glorify G-d by observing birds.[8] The Talmud teaches that “Had the Torah not been given, we would have learned to be modest from cats, to avoid theft from ants, to avoid promiscuity from doves, and derech eretz (proper conduct) from roosters.”[9] The Book of Proverbs advises those that are lazy to observe the ant. Despite the fact that this animal has no supervisor, it collects its food in the summer and stores it during the harvest season.[10] In a similar vein, in Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Yehuda Ben Teima tell us to be “bold like the leopard, swift like the eagle, fast like the deer, and courageous like the lion, in order to fulfill the will of your Father in Heaven.”[11]

It is quite often easier for a person to learn character traits from animals because human beings are full of paradoxes and internal conflicts, while animals have emotional attributes that are strong and clear, without room for human subtleties. The fact that during the omer we work on our emotional characteristics (our animal qualities) is reflected in the omer offering itself, which was made out of barley, an animal food. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the process of self-analysis which begins on Passover and runs through the Counting of the Omer, culminating on Shavuot, is parallel to the kind of food related to each of these days. On Passover we eat matzah, which involves total nullification of the ego; the omer, made of animal food, reflects our struggle to improve our emotional/animal characteristics; on Shavuot, once our character traits have been refined, leavened bread is brought into the Temple for the first time.[12]

When reading Perek Shirah, it is fascinating to observe how the animals so gracefully praise and acknowledge G-d’s actions. If animals glorify G-d in such a way, how much more so should we! Furthermore, through each animal and its respective song, we extract examples and lessons on how to help us heal and combat sadness.

Important dates taking place in week of year
Important date during omer count and time of day
Animal in Perek Shirah
#
Rabbi in Pirkei Avot and thrust of his teaching
Sefirot
Rosh Hashanah
Pessach
Netz Hachamah (sunrise)
Rooster, (Introduction and 7 verses) (first bird)
1
Introduction and 14 rabbis (7 pairs) – acquiring a master.
Chesed shebeChesed
Yom Kippur
Chol haMoed
Hen
2
Shimon ben Raban Gamliel – “silence” of the body
Gevurah  shebeChesed
Sukkot
Chol haMoed
Dove
3
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel – justice, truth and peace
Tiferet shebeChesed
Shemini Atzeret
Chol haMoed
Eagle
4
Rabbi Yehudah HaNassí – an eye that sees, and Ear that hears, and all your deeds are written in a Book
Netzach shebeChesed
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
Chol haMoed
Crane
5
Rabban Gamliel ben Rabbi Yehudah HaNassí - combine Torah study with work
Hod shebeChesed
First Week of Cheshvan
(Potential 3rd Temple Holiday)
Chol haMoed
Songbird
6
Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai – an individual that learned much Torah should not feel that he or she deserves special recognition
Yesod shebeChesed
Second Week of Cheshvan
(3rd Temple)
Seventh day of Pessach
Swallow
7
Rabbi Eliezer – the honor of your neighbor should be as precious in your eyes as your own, and do not become easily irritated
Malchut shebeChesed
Third Week of Cheshvan
(3rd Temple)
Last Day of Pessach
Swift
8
Rabbi Yehoshua – an evil eye, an evil inclination, and hatred of one’s fellow takes a man out of this world
Chesed shebeGevurah
Fourth Week of Cheshvan or Rosh Chodesh Kislev
Isru Chag
Latest time to recite the Shemah
Stormy Petrel
9
Rabbi Yossi – the possessions of your neighbor should be as dear to you as your own
Gevurah  shebeGevurah
Rosh Chodesh Kislev or 1st week

Bat
10
Rabbi Shimon – be careful in reciting the Shemah and the Shmoneh Esreh. Do not make of your prayer a routine act                        
Tiferet shebeGevurah
Yud Kislev
Erev Yom HaShoah
Latest proper time to recite the Shmoneh Esreh
Stork
11
Rabbi Elazar – know what to answer the heretic and be diligent in your Torah study.

Netzach shebeGevurah
Yud Tet Kislev
Yom HaShoah
Raven
12
Rabbi Tarfon – the day is short, the work is great, the workers are lazy, the reward is big, and the Owner is pressing.
Hod shebeGevurah
Chanukah

Starling
13
Akaviah ben Mahalalel – know from where you come and to where you are going, and before Whom you will be judged.
Yesod shebeGevurah
Chanukah/Rosh Chodesh Tevet
Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar
Domestic Goose
14
Rabbi Chaninah, Segan Kohen Gadol – pray for the welfare of the government, for if it were not for the fear of it…
Malchut shebeGevurah
10th of Teveth
Rosh Chodesh Iyar
 Wild Goose
15
Rabbi Chaninah ben Teradion – if two people are sitting together and do not exchange words of Torah…
Chesed shebeTiferet
Third Week of Tevet
Rosh Chodesh Iyar
Ducks
16
Rabbi Shimon [Bar Yochai] – Three people that ate together and did not say words of Torah…
Gevurah  shebeTiferet
Fourth Week of Tevet
Chatzot (midday – latest time for morning prayers
Bee-Eater
(Last bird)
17
Rabbi Chaninah ben Chachinai – one who is awake at night or travels on the road, and turns his heart to idleness…
Tiferet shebeTiferet
Rosh Chodesh Shvat
Minchah Gedolah (earliest time for Minchah)
Grasshopper (first insect)
18
Rabbi Nechuniah – one who takes upon oneself the yoke of Torah, the yoke of making a living and of government are removed from him
Netzach shebeTiferet
Yud Shvat
Yom HaZikaron
Locust
19
Rabbi Chalaftah – ten men that are gathered and occupy themselves in Torah...
Hod shebeTiferet
Tu B'Shvat
Yom Ha’Atzma’ut
Spider
20
Rabbi Elazar de Bartota – give to Him what is His, for you and all that is yours is His.
Yesod shebeTiferet
Fourth Week of Shvat

Fly
21
Rabbi Yaakov – whoever is travelling on the road while studying and interrupts to exclaim how beautiful is this tree…
Malchut shebeTiferet
Rosh Chodesh Adar

Sea Monsters
22
Rabbi Dostai, ben Yanai – one who forgets their Torah knowledge…
Chesed shebeNetzach
First Week of Adar

Leviathan
23
Rabbi Chaninah ben Dossah – one whose fear of sin is greater than his wisdom, his wisdom will endure…
Gevurah  shebeNetzach
Purim

Fish
24
Rabbi Dossah ben Harkinas – the sleep of the morning, wine of the afternoon, the talk of children, and meeting places of the ignorant…
Tiferet shebeNetzach
Third Week of Adar

Frog

25
Rabbi Elazar, the Modahite – one who profanes sacred objects, degrades the festivals, humiliates other in public…
Netzach shebeNetzach
Rosh Chodesh Nissan
Minchah Ketanah
Sheep and Goat (first farm animal)
26
Rabbi Yishmael – be submissive to the head, and courteous to the young, and receive every person with joy.
Hod shebeNetzach
First Week of Nissan

Cow
27
Rabbi Akiva – jest and frivolity accustom a person to lust… everything is prepared for the banquet
Yesod shebeNetzach
First Day of Pessach
Erev Pessach Sheni
Pig and Rabbit
28
Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah – without Torah there is no common decency... without flour there is no Torah…
Malchut shebeNetzach
Pessach
Pessach Sheni
Plag Haminchah
Beast of Burden
(first animal used for carrying)
29
Rabbi Elazar ben Chismah – the laws of bird sacrifices and menstrual periods are essential…
Chesed shebeHod
Fourth Week of Nissan

Camel
30
Ben Zomah – Who is wise? One that learns from everyone
Gevurah  shebeHod
Rosh Chodesh Iyar/ 5 de Iyar
Candle Lighting
Horse
31
Ben Azai – run to pursue a mitzvah, and flee from transgression. A mitzvah attracts another mitzvah...
Tiferet shebeHod
Second Week of Iyar

Mule
32
Rabbi Levitas of Yavneh – be extremely humble, because the hope of mortal man is worms...
Netzach shebeHod
Pessach Sheini/ Lag Ba’Omer
Lag Ba'Omer
Shkiah (sunset)
Donkey
33
Rabbi Yochanan ben Berokah – whoever profanes the Divine Name in secret will be punished in public...
Hod shebeHod
Fourth Week of Iyar
Tzeit Hakochovim (nightfall)
Ox (last farm animal, and last animal used for carrying)
34
Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yossi – one who studies Torah in order to teach is given the opportunity to learn and teach; one that studies Torah in order to practice…
Yesod shebeHod
Rosh Chodesh Sivan/ Yom Yerushalayim

Wild Animals
35
Rabbi Tzadok – do not separate yourself from the community… do not make the Torah into a crown to glorify yourself
Malchut shebeHod
Shavuot

Gazelle
36
Rabbi Yossi – one that honors the Torah will be honored by men…
Chesed shebeYesod
Third Week of Sivan

Elephant
37
Rabbi Yishmael – one who refrains from serving as a judge avoid hatred, theft and false oaths.
Gevurah  shebeYesod
Fourth Week of Sivan

Lion
38
Rabbi Yonatan – whoever fulfills the Torah in poverty will ultimately fulfill it in wealth...
Tiferet shebeYesod
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz/ 3rd of Tammuz

Bear
39
Rabbi Meir – engage minimally in business, and occupy yourself with Torah...
Netzach shebeYesod
Second Week of Tammuz

Wolf
40
Rabbi Eliezer – one who fulfills one mitzvah acquires an advocate for himself...
Hod shebeYesod
12th and 13th of Tammuz/ 17th of Tammuz

 Fox
41
Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar – every gathering that is for the sake of Heaven will endure…
Yesod
shebeYesod
Fourth Week of Tammuz
Erev Yom Yerushalayim
Hound
42
Rabbi Eliezer ben Shammuah – the honor of your student should be as precious to you as your own…
Malchut shebeYesod
Rosh Chodesh Av
Yom Yerushalayim
Cat
43
Rabbi Yehudah – be careful in your studies, for an error in learning it tantamount to a willful sin.
Chesed shebeMalchut
Tisha B'Av
Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan
End of the first watch of the night
Mouse
(last house animal)
44
Rabbi Nehorai – exile yourself  to a place of Torah; do not say that it will come after you… rely not on your own understanding.
Gevurah  shebeMalchut
Tu B'Av
Rosh Chodesh Sivan
Creeping Creatures
45
Rabbi Yanai – we cannot comprehend the tranquility of the wicked or the suffering of the righteous...
Tiferet shebeMalchut
Third Week of Av

Prolific Creeping Creatures
46
Rabbi Matiah ben Charash – be first to greet every man. Be a tail to lions, rather than a head to foxes.
Netzach shebeMalchut
Rosh Chodesh Elul
Yemei Hagbalah
Snake
47
Rabbi Yaakov – this world is like an antechamber for the World to Come...
Hod shebeMalchut
First Week of Elul
Yemei Hagbalah
Scorpion
48
Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar – do not attempt to appease your friend at the moment of his anger…
Yesod shebeMalchut
Second Week of Elul
Yemei Hagbalah
Snail
49
Shmuel the Small – when your enemy falls, do not rejoice...
Malchut shebeMalchut
Chai Elul
Shavuot
Ant
50
Elishah ben Avuyah – one who learns Torah in his childhood, to what is he compared? To ink on fresh paper…
Shavuot - Chochmah
Fourth Week of Elul/Slichot
Shavuot
Weasel
51
Rabbi Yossi ben Yehudah of Kfar Bavli – one who learns Torah from youngsters…
Shavuot – Binah
Slichot/Rosh Hashanah
Isru Chag/Pessach Chatzot (midnight)
Dogs
(last animals)
52
Rabbi Elazar HaKappar – envy, lust, and honor take a man out of the world… Those who are born will die, and the dead will live [again]…
Shavuot – Da’at/Keter




Explanation for the Week of Purim:

By looking at the above table, one can see that, for the most part, the weeks in which there are holidays in the Jewish calendar match important days during the Counting of the Omer (such as holidays and Rosh Chodesh, or the eve of such dates).  The only major exceptions to this appear to be the weeks that include the weeks with holidays that fall during the Counting of the Omer itself (such as the week of Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Yom Yerushalayim, and Shavuot) and Purim. It is understandable that the weeks of the first set of holidays would not be able to have matches, since the very days of each of these holidays are matched with other weeks. However, why Purim does not appear to have a parallel during the Counting of the Omer appears to be somewhat of a conundrum.

A likely explanation is that the week of Purim actually matches Yom Ha’Atzmaut as well.  The story of Purim somewhat parallels that of Yom Ha'Atzmaut. On Purim, a leader of Amalek got enormous power, and tried to annihilate us completely. We survived, and were victorious in miraculous ways that seemed natural. G-d was "Hidden." In the next generation, the Jewish people were permitted to return to their land. On Yom Ha'Atzmaut, history seemed to repeat itself. Soon after the Holocaust, a leader of Amalek gained enormous power and tried to annihilate us completely. We survived, many of us in miraculous ways, but G-d seemed to be completely "Hidden." Some years later, the United Nations recognized our right to the Land of Israel; we won a War of Independence; and established a Jewish government in our land.

Before
Purim, there is a day of fasting, Ta'anit Esther. Before Yom Ha'Atzmaut there is also a solemn day, Yom HaZikaron, the day they remember the soldiers who died in recent wars, as well as victims of terrorism. Ta'anit Esther also commemorates the Jewish people's fast before they went to war against their enemies at the time.

The Mishnah in the tractate of Megillah explains that one can read the Megillah from the 11th of Adar until the 15th. Our rabbis instituted that the Megillah could be read earlier (or later) in the countryside, for people who could not easily assemble on the 14th of Adar. The difference between the 11th and the 15th of Adar is 4 days. This is the very difference between day 20 of the omer (Yom Ha’Atzmaut) and the 24th day of the omer, which would match the week of Purim. It is very interesting to note that in Israel today Yom Ha’Atzmaut is often not celebrated on the 5th of Iyar. To prevent any violation of Shabbat, our rabbis instituted that we commemorate Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut on different dates, just like the reading of the Megillah was often done on different dates. For example, in year 5771, because the 4th of Iyar fell on a Sunday, Yom HaZikaron was commemorated on Monday the 5th, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut on Tuesday, the 6th of Iyar. Theoretically, if Yom HaZikaron fell on a Thursday, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut on Friday, these holidays could be postponed and celebrated on the following Monday and Tuesday, four days later. Yom Ha’Atzmaut would then fall on the 24th day of the omer, corresponding to week 24 of the year, the week of Purim. So far, the custom now has been to celebrate Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut a day earlier instead.




[1] Exodus 19:2, Rashi
[2] Exodus 15:26; The Rebbe in his Chassidic Discourse for Tu B’Shvat, 5741 states that the Arizal and previous rebbes note that the Hebrew word for ill, choleh has the numerical value of of forty-nine, a reference to the Forty-Nine Gates of Understanding, which in turn are related to the forty-nine days of the omer. (Available at: http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/sichos-in-english/8/21.htm)
[3] “Kabbalah” is a general term used to describe the inner most spiritual dimension of the Torah. The term “Kabbalah” literally means that which was “received,” passed down from master to teacher since the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. At one point in Jewish history, Kabbalah was studied only by a relatively small group of saintly individuals, and this remains true for the more esoteric teachings. Nonetheless, since the times of the Holy Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Lion of Safed, as well as the later rise of the Ba’al Shem Tov and Chassidism, the fundamental principles of Kabbalah are now not only widespread, but their study by the general population is encouraged.
[4] At the time of the writing of this book, the authors had not come across the idea of expanding the Counting of the Omer to the entire year in any earlier source. Recently however, the authors became aware of a book by Brazilian rabbi Nilton Bonder called Exercícios D’Alma (Soul Exercises), which has a similar premise, although the counting itself is done differently, based on the Torah readings for each week instead of on Lag Ba’omer.
[5] Marcus, p. 12
[6] No authoritative source has been found for the idea of connecting the weeks of the Jewish calendar to Perek Shirah and Pirkei Avot, but the authors strongly feel that these connections are not only present, but become increasingly apparent with each coming week. In any event, there is certainly much to be learned from these sources regardless of any specific connection.
[7] The solar calendar of fifty-two weeks is used in Judaism on various occasions. For example, it is used to calculate the blessing over the sun, Birchat Hachamah, as well as to calculate the time to switch part of the prayer in the Amidah connected to the harvest and the rain (this change is always made on the 5th or 6th day of December). The number 365 is also used in Judaism in order to calculate the stockpiling of incense, ketoret, in the Temple, and in order to remember the number of biblical prohibitions in the Torah, 365 in all.
[8] Chapter 35:11
[9] Talmud, Eruvin 100b
[10] Chapter 6:6.
[11] Chapter 5:23
[12] Touger, Eliyahu, Timeless Patterns in Time, available at: http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/timeless-patterns/37.htm (Chassidism also explains that working on our “inner animal” is also one of the main purposes of animal sacrifices in the Temple, as explained in the Chassidic discourse Kuntres U’Ma’ayan, by Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad).

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