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Hayom-Yom for 15, Nissan
|Hayom Yom was written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 5703 (1942-43).|
In this box we have listed the Torah Lessons for this year.
The Torah Lessons below in the text are as they were in the original edition.
- Our custom is to use for the maror and the Chazeret (on the seder plate) both horseradish and romaine lettuce.
- Kiddush is said standing. The pronunciation of the first word of the Haggada is Hay Lachma...
- When the B'racha "...on eating maror" is recited, one should have in mind the second portion of maror to be eaten later at Koreich (sandwiched between two pieces of matza).
Tuesday Nissan 15 5703, 1st day of Chag Ha'Matzot (Pesach) Torah Lessons
Chumash: Acharei Mot, Shlishi with Rashi.
Tanya: Furthermore, even in (p. 209)...been explained above. (p.211).
At the first Seder my father would be brief,  in order to eat the Afikoman before midnight. On the second night, however, he would expound at length; he began the Seder before 9 p.m. and ended at about 3 or 4 in the morning, dwelling at length on the explanation of the Haggada.
The Alter Rebbe declared: The matza of the first evening of Pesach is called the Food of Faith; the matza of the second evening is called the Food of Healing. When healing brings faith ("Thank you, G-d, for healing me") then clearly there has been illness. When faith brings healing, there is no illness to start with.
- (Back to text) In his explanations of the Haggada, etc.
This seven week period serves as a link that binds the two festivals together. On every one of these forty nine days, at the end of the evening prayer, a Jew recites a blessing and counts the day and week verbally. This counting, called "Sefirat Ha'Omer", expresses the Jew's eager anticipation of receiving the Torah on Shavuot, forty nine days after experiencing the liberation of Passover.
But how does counting these weeks and days prepare us for receiving the Torah? Is there any way to actualize the anticipation reflected in the counting? How are each of these days special and different from one another? What relevance does Sefirat Ha'Omer have for us today? What does it mean for us now?
The Hebrew word "sefirah" has several meanings. The famous Kabbalist, the RaMak (R. Moshe Kordevero, d. 1570), in his monumental work the "Pardes", writes that "sefirah" comes both from the root "counting" (mispar, number) and "sipur", as in relating a story. A third root of "sefirah" is "sapir", a sapphire stone, which is a translucent crystal that shines brightly.
Counting Sefirah illuminates the different aspects of our emotional lives. The days of sefirah tell us a story. These days are much more than not listening to music. They actually play a melody of their own; they tell a tale we do not hear the rest of the year; a song to the tune of our souls and its personal refinement.
There are seven basic emotions that make up the spectrum of human experience. Each of the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot is dedicated to examining and refining one of them.
These seven emotional attributes are:
The seven weeks which represent these emotional attributes further divide by seven making up the 49 days of the counting. Since a fully- functional emotion is multi-dimensional, it includes within itself a blend of all seven attributes.
- Chesed - Lovingkindness; benevolence.
- Gevurah - Justice; discipline; restraint; awe
- Tiferet - Beauty and harmony; compassion.
- Netzach - Endurance; fortitude; ambition.
- Hod - Humility; splendor.
- Yesod - Bonding, foundation
- Malchut - Nobility; sovereignty; leadership.
For example: Week one is dedicated to chesed - the feeling of love.
Day one of week one we deal with chesed she be'chesed - the love of love. Day two - gevurah she'be'chesed - the discipline of love. Day three - tiferet she'be'chesed - the beauty of love, and so on for all seven days of the week.
The energy of each individual day consists of examining and refining one of the (7x7) 49 emotions. After perfecting and purifying all 49 dimensions we are fully prepared for Matan Torah. For now we are in synch with the 49 Divine attributes from which the human attributes evolve.
When examining our emotions we ask ourself the following questions:
This day by day analysis give us the ability to stand back and take an objective look at our subjective emotions. Seeing their strong and weak points, will in turn enable us to apply ourselves to the development and perfection of these feelings as we grow towards emotional and spiritual maturity.
- What is my capacity to experience this particular feeling?
- What is my capacity to express it?
- How do I currently express this emotion?
- How have I expressed it in the past?
- When, where and to whom do I express this emotion?
- Is my expression arbitrary, subjective and somewhat random or am I consistent in my expression of this emotion?
It's interesting that the Jewish people did not begin their forty nine days of emotional refinement until after they were freed from slavery in Egypt. Their journey of personal growth commenced only after liberation from two hundred and ten years of bondage in a strange land. Indeed, the forty nine day refinement process was an extension and culmination of their liberation from Egypt, concluding with the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
What does that mean for us?
The Torah and its stories are, in essence, the story of our lives. The Torah is a spiritual blueprint, a "roadmap" that illuminates the intricate layers and dimensions of our psyches and souls. Every event in Torah reflects another aspect of our inner personality.
Deciphering the Torah code discloses its personal message for us; every word in Torah has deep personal and spiritual meaning.
Egypt in Hebrew is called "Mitzrayim", which means limitations and boundaries. Mitzrayim represents all forms of conformity and definition that restrain, inhibit or hamper our free movement and expression. Thus, leaving Egypt, means freedom from constraints.
Before we begin climbing our emotional ladder we must first deal with the most formidable challenge of all: denial. Emotions are a web. Intricate caverns within caverns that hold us hostage in their formidable clutches.
It's one thing when you have clarity and can clearly see the roads before you, then all you need to do is drive your vehicle along these roads to reach your destination. It's quite another matter when you cannot see ahead of you; you cannot even see there is a road; or even worse, you don't even know that you're on a road and a journey. Yes, that is what our emotions can do to us. They are able to hold us captive in their embrace with seemingly no way out.
Are our emotions really such great enemies of ours? The Torah says that "bribery blinds the eyes of the wise". Why the "wise"? if their eyes can be blinded by mere bribery, maybe they aren't that wise after all? The Torah is teaching us an in valuable lesson about ourselves: when we are in the hold of our feelings they have the capacity to distort our mind, to the extent that we use our intellect to justify our subjective attitudes; and the greater the mind, the greater the distortion.
In other words, our mind, unknowingly, becomes a tool and a vehicle for our emotional expression, entirely losing its objective capacity. It blinds the eyes of the wise, and instead of being eyes that can clearly see, they become slanted, tainted and colored with the shades of our emotional bias.
Mitzrayim is enslavement to all forms of conformity, to all human subjective fears that lock us and hold us hostage. We must first free ourselves from these tentacles to begin growing emotionally.
How do we free ourselves? Upon leaving Egypt the Jews asked the same question. They first told Moses: we don't want to go anywhere. Egypt is our comfortable home, we've lived here for years, why rock the boat? The first expression of denial is the feeling that everything is fine, why move and change the status quo when things seem alright.
And when Moses tells the Jewish people that G-d promised them liberation, they claim forgetfulness. Denial induces amnesia.
Once Moses forced the Jews to confront their situation and recognize that Egypt (conformity) is not their place and G-d promised them that they would leave Egypt and go to their homeland, the holy land of Israel, Eretz Yisroel (Yisroel means overcoming all challenges, both human and divine) - then the Jews claimed that they are not ready.
After you have no option but to accept the existence of a problem, comes the second stage in denial, which is: procrastination. Saying "I am not yet ready and strong enough to deal with this". While it is often possible that our inner psychological defense and immune system protects us from dealing with issues we cannot as of yet tolerate, this does not mean that procrastination is an option; indeed, the protectiveness of our immune system is just another step in movement and growth.
Let us not underestimate the power of Mitzrayim-denial. Two hundred and ten years the Jews spent in Egypt before they began their journey out and their forty nine day climb of personal and spiritual growth, culminating with the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
The Torah relates to us these events in order to help us get beyond our own Mitzrayim-denial. Key to diffusing the debilitating paralysis of denial and fear is recognition: recognizing the hereto unknown face of the enemy. Because the power of fear is not in its up-front strength but in its deceptiveness; its capacity to make us feel helpless, rendering us powerless. Liberation from Mitzrayim begins from within, freeing yourself from your own ties that bind and blind you.
How to get beyond denial? There are several requirements. First we need a Moses to awaken us, to remind us of the promise G-d gave each of us, to unleash the power locked in our souls, that we can and we will overcome any Mitzrayim, any denial and fear.
Who is the Moses in our lives and how does he help free us? Every person has a personal Moses in his soul, a force that rises above the illusions of our limits. This Moses is accessed through the mind. By studying Torah we open ourselves up to a fresh perspective compared to the one that we have being carrying around through our years of denial.
If you are unable to access your personal "Moses" on your own, you can reach to a Moses outside of you; to an objective, trustworthy, learned friend with whom you can discuss your issues and expect sensitive and objective insights that you often cannot realize on your own.
So the liberation from your Mitzrayim requires: An objective Moses who awakens our:
So before you can freely embark on the journey of emotional growth and refinement, you must first leave Egypt, your own personal Mitzrayim, the denial and fear that so hinders your determination to move. You do this by either using your own built-in therapist - your mind - to objectively review your issues by applying to it the Torah's wisdom, or by reaching to a friend who has the capacity to help you in this fashion.
- faith and hope that we can and will be liberated,
- minds to enable us to rise above our strangling emotions.
After you have acknowledged and reached, to some extent, this place, then you can take full advantage of the forty nine day emotional refinement that follows, which in itself is also a continuation of the "yetziyas mitzrayim" process: assessing and developing each of the forty nine emotions is meant to free us from each emotion's subjective hold and consequential distortions, thus liberating each respective emotion and allowing it to be freely expressed unfettered by external and circums tantial experiences.
Exercises for "liberating yourself from Mitzrayim":
Begininig with tomorrow's Hayom Yom, for the next 49 days we added a segment from the book:
- Take a moment and reflect on your fears and reservations in exploring yourself. Ask yourself: Am I uncomfortable with self-focus? Do I escape from dealing with myself by totally throwing myself into solving others problems?
- If you've answered yes to the questions in #1, then choose one, only one, aspect of yourself and write down your feelings about it, including your ambivalence or hesitation.
- Attempt one of the forty nine exercises below and concentrate on its effect on that days particular emotion. In other words, while doing the exercise keep in mind that it is meant to help focus on and develop that corresponding emotion.
- Begin your morning by saying the "modeh ani" prayer, in which we acknowledge that G-d has returned our soul to us. Keep in mind that the soul is always free from all the trappings of mitzrayim. Though this exercise might not free you, you may be surprised at the effects of being aware that you have within you dimensions that are liberating. This awareness must be continuously cultivated, daily, and slowly it will open up new vistas of hope.
From:A Spiritual Guide to the counting of the OmerForty-Nine Steps to Personal RefinementThe Forty-Nine Days of Sefirahby Simon Jacobson$7.95 Soft Cover
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