Conscious Counting
Apr30

Conscious Counting

Iyar 1 The month of Iyar is unique—on every day of the month we perform a special, time-bound mitzvah. The “count-up” of sefirah that began on the second night of Pesach fills the entire month until we reach Shavuos. Although sefirah can be translated to mean “counting,” it has another connotation: shining, like the Hebrew [...]

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Dvar Torah for Lag b’Omer
May19

Dvar Torah for Lag b’Omer

Dvar Torah for Lag b’Omer Based on Likutey Halakhot, Hekhsher Keilim 4:1–4 “Tzaddikim are greater in their death than they were in their lifetime” (Chullin 7b). Why is Lag b’Omer (the 33rd day of the Omer-Count) such a great celebration? Not because Rebbe Akiva’s students no longer died prematurely, but because it is the anniversary [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Emor
May05

Dvar Torah for Parshat Emor

Dvar Torah for Parshat Emor Based on Likutey Halakhot, Shavuot 1:1–3 “...you will bring an omer of the first of your harvest...and he will wave [it]...and you will count...from the day you bring the omer...” (Leviticus 23:10–11,15). The festival of Shavuot is also called Atzeret, which means assembly or gathering. An obvious meaning of the [...]

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How To “Fix” Each Sefira Day
May04

How To “Fix” Each Sefira Day

In Likutei Moharan I, 182, the Rebbe teaches: “Know, that whatever people speak about during the days of Sefira, they are only talking about the Sefira of that day. Someone who understands is able to hear and know this, and if he will pay attention well to what people discuss he will hear them talking [...]

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Kedoshim
Apr28

Dvar Torah for Parshat Kedoshim

Dvar Torah for Parshat Kedoshim Based on Likutey Moharan I, Lesson #34 One of the many things that Sefirat HaOmer, the Omer-Count, teaches us is be here now, you as you are, with now, as now is. Rebbe Nachman tells us that as much as we may already have grown and accomplished in our quest [...]

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49th Day—EXTRA!

So, in all reality, it’s quite likely that your Sefirat HaOmer has not been ideal. You may feel feel that you are not only not prepared to receive the Torah, but prepared to not receive it, God forbid! If so, now’s a good time to use your Never Despair card! You can count all forty-nine [...]

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49th Day

Week of Malkhut, Seventh Day Major sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship; minor sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship Well, this is it. The final day of preparation. I’m committed to serving the King for the sake of serving the King. Sounds a little circular, but that’s really the ideal form of pledging allegiance—you’re my King and it has nothing to do with [...]

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48th Day (Monday, 17 May)

Week of Malkhut, Sixth Day Major sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship; minor sefirah: Yesod/Foundation When it comes to crimes against the government not all misbehavior is the same. There are misdemeanors and there are felonies. But most kings and kingdoms, the smart ones, realize that their subjects will make mistakes: give in to temptation, scoff at certain laws, [...]

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45th Day (Friday, 14 May)

Week of Malkhut, Third Day Major sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship; minor sefirah: Tiferet/Splendor There’s a time to be frugal and a time to be lavish. For my family and myself, we don’t have to a tent made from crocodile skin, imported from the Far East. It’s enough if our tent is decent quality canvas from wherever—frugal. But [...]

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44th Day (Thursday, 13 May)

Week of Malkhut, Second Day Major sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship; minor sefirah: Gevurah/Strength I didn’t have much time to write today, but it occurred to me that fear has a bad reputation. Of course no one likes to be scared or live with a feeling of impending tragedy, but fear prevents us from doing harmful things, like [...]

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43rd Day of the Omer (Wednesday, 12 May)

Week of Malkhut, First Day Major sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship; minor sefirah: Chessed/Kindness It’s sort of funny, you know, that a lot of ordinary, “at first glance” thinking is really wrong, the opposite of how things really are. What do I mean? Well, for example, to be in charge of something, to be its king, means to [...]

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42nd Day of the Omer (Tuesday, 11 May)

Week of Yesod, Seventh Day Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship You know, even in the darkest days in Egypt, we always had the tradition that the Redeemer would come, a towering tzaddik. And we were fortunate. Many of the ancients, the founders of our tribes, the children and grandchildren of our third patriarch Yaakov, [...]

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41st Day of the Omer (Monday, 10 May)

Week of Yesod, Sixth Day Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Yesod/Foundation What’s the foundation of the Foundation, eh? Good question. I’ve discovered that quiet itself is foundational (Zohar 3:115b). When I reach that inner-stillness I feel the strength to carry out my resolutions because that inner-quietness can overpower all the outer-noise. And that strength of [...]

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38th Day of the Omer (Friday, 7 May)

Week of Yesod, Third Day Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Tiferet/Splendor You know what the most beautiful thing about Judaism is? Its people. First of all the tzaddikim. They are so refined and kind. They speak gently, never using an untoward word, even when they have to put us in our place. Their every move [...]

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37th Day of the Omer (Thursday, 6 May)

Week of Yesod, Second Day Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Gevurah/Strength How does an ordinary person like me become a tzaddik? Like in any other endeavor, it takes practice. But unlike other endeavors you can’t choose when to practice! It’s like being at sea in a small boat. It’s smooth sailing, but all it takes [...]

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36th Day of the Omer (Wednesday, 5 May)

Week of Yesod, First Day Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Chessed/Kindness A few days ago I mentioned that I realized that certain central components of my being determine the quality of my thinking and behavior. If a certain appetite takes control, just about any behavior or belief that indulges the appetite can be rationalized. The [...]

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