May 20 2013
From the time of the end of Passover until Shavuot (which ended last Thursday night), many Jews place restrictions on their behavior which I have written about before during the period of counting the Omer (49 days from Passover to the giving of the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai).
Historically, this period was also one of a horrible plague that struck the students of the great Rabbi Akiva, and so certain mourning rituals were adopted during this period such as no weddings, no purchasing new clothing, and no listening to live music. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 18 2012
Passover has passed over. All of that cleaning, refraining, and restricting is over and done for another year. Phew! Right? Wrong.
Passover is the beginning of a journey of the Jewish people towards the ultimate gift that we received only after (because of!?) slavery and our liberation through the narrows of Egypt. That gift is the Torah. We commemorate receiving the Torah 50 days after Passover on Shavuot, which falls this year on May 27. The 50 days are called Sefirat Ha’Omer, or the Counting of the Omer, since sheaves (omer) of wheat were brought to the Temple during this time after Pesach. Read the rest of this entry →