Gimmel Tammuz – Lubavitcher Lore & Holy Days

Today marks an auspicious day on the Chabad Lubavitcher's calendar. Today is Gimmel Tammuz (the third day of the month of Tammuz).On this day in 5754 or 1994 in Gregorian years, the Lubavitcher Rebbe passed away. This dealt a hard blow to the community. He and his wife were childless and he did not appoint a successor. This divided the community, some believing that he was the Moshiach (messiah) and some not believing in that. It is a topic that still divides Crown Heights today.A newly … [Read more...]

Modest is Hottest?

There is a catch phrase which for awhile I loved, but now sits unwell with me:  "modest is hottest."  Well, if it is hottest, doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of being modest? Doesn't acknowledging it on that level take away some of the inherent subtlety of modesty, in the grand scheme of things?Tzniut, the Hebrew word for modesty tends to be most commonly translated about modesty in reference to clothing.  I think defining it down on this level does an injustice to tzniut and people w … [Read more...]

Different Days, Different Relationships

As you are aware by now, last week we celebrated Shavuot and had a chance to do some great learning.  One of my favorite discussions, and one I thought our readers would appreciate, came from a session early in the night with my Rebbetzin, T.  The class was on Megilat Ruth.T introduced the class by commenting on the juxtaposition of what we read on the different days of Shavuot.  The first day we read about the receiving of the Torah.  It is a big, loud and flashy moment, filled with thunder an … [Read more...]

How to Encounter the Omer, Week 6 – Yesod

YESODThe process of Yesoding is emptying and filling that part of our soul that connects Nefesh (our physical part of the soul) to Ruah (people-interactive part of the soul) and Neshamah (the part of our soul that is our private G link).Eastern religion and philosophy speak of emptying ourselves.  They speak of no-mind.  The usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness, goes the Zen proverb.   Since we Jews are a Middle Eastern religion and philosophy, we too speak of the meaning of emptying.  And … [Read more...]

The Kabbalah of Counting: The Mystical Meaning of the Counting of the Omer

The Counting of the Omer originated in a deep, loving relationship to the earth.For us, it has become process of re-creation, re-birth and re-newal of a sacred bond that grounds our hearts to the earth and lifts our souls to the heavens.The 49 day period is counted in days and weeks.The 7 days of each of the 7 weeks constitutes the 49 days.Each week is represented by a specific sacred attribute, called Sefirah from the mystical Tree of Life.Each day within that week is represented by … [Read more...]