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April 14 & 21 I May 5, 12, & 19

Our beloved, wildly popular mini-course, led by Rabbi Yael, combines study, spiritual observance, and therapeutic mindfulness rituals as we count the days of the Omer. We invite you to join us as we seek to deepen and enrich our personal inner lives and relationships through Mussar practice.

  • It is Jewish tradition to count the Omer, the 49 days between the end of Passover and Shavuot. Learn more here!
  • One teacher described Mussar as “teaching the heart what the mind already understands”- Rabbi Elya Lopian. Learn more here, here, and here!

Weekly Readings

Download or view below

Counting the Omer 5780 2020 Week 1

The Week of Hesed (compassion, kindness, flowing love)

  • Day One-        Hesed of Hesed
  • Day Two-        Gevurah of Hesed
  • Day Three-      Tiferet of Hesed
  • Day Four-       Netzach of Hesed
  • Day Five-        Hod of Hesed
  • Day Six-          Yesod of Hesed
  • Day Seven-     Malchut of Hesed
  1. Three things make a person אהוב beloved by others: an open hand, a set table and a happy frame of mind.

-Avot D’Rabbi Natan 31

אהבת עולם  2 Eternal infinite love; אהבה רבה Abundant love

-Liturgy before the Shema

  1. “How do we come to the Love of God?” The love of God is a human proclivity; “the demonstration of the soul’s longing and inherent affinity for the Creator.”

-Duties of the Heart chapter 10, by Rabbi Bahya ibn Paquda

  1. When one contemplates The Source of Creation’s great, wonderous actions and creatures and sees within them inestimable and boundless divine wisdom, one immediately loves and gives praise and exalts, and experiences great desire to know the great Name.”

-Rambam’s Hilchot Yesodei Ha-Torah 2:1-2

  1. ‘If a person is beloved, all people will want to share that person’s company and study with him.’

-Midrash Shmuel

  1. A person can only love commensurate with the degree to which he or she knows the object of his or her love.

-Rambam’s Hilchot Teshuah 10:6

If one knows a little, one can love a little. And if one knows a lot, one can love a lot. Through study and life experience and contemplation, we can gain knowledge of Ha-Makom; and that will lead us toward loving Ha-Makom.

-With Heart in Mind by Alan Morinis

ואהבת לרעך כמוך7. 

“You shall love the other your neighbor as yourself”.

-Leviticus 19:18

  1. And it came to pass that the נפש soul of Jonathan was knit with the נפש soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own נפש soul. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own נפש soul.

-I Samuel 18:1, 3

  1. “As water reflects a face, so does a person’s heart.”  

– Proverbs 27:19 

This means that whatever you project from your heart is what you can expect to receive in return. If you take no interest in others, they will take no interest in you. If, on the other hand, you are warm and caring, you can also expect to attract warmth to yourself.

With Heart in Mind by Alan Morinis

ואהבת את יהוה אלהיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך10. 

“You shall love יהוה Source of your Breath with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I command you on this day shall be upon your heart. Teach them to your children. Speak of them when you are sitting in your home, when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise up. ”

-Deuteronomy 6:5

  1. “Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa used to say, “One who is pleasing to his fellow human, is pleasing to The Holy One. But one who is not pleasing to his fellow human, is not pleasing to The Holy One.”

-Pirke Avot 3:10

  1. “Love of all creatures is also love of The Source, for whomever loves The Source loves all the works that The Source has made. When one loves The Source, it is impossible not to love The Source’s creatures. The opposite is also true. If one hates the creatures, it is impossible to love The Source Who created them.”

-The Maharal Netivot Olam

  • Day Eight-      Hesed of Gevurah
  • Day Nine-       Gevurah of Gevurah
  • Day Ten-         Tiferet of Gevurah
  • Day Eleven-    Netzach of Gevurah
  • Day Twelve-   Hod of Gevurah
  • Day Thirteen- Yesod of Gevurah
  • Day Fourteen- Malchut of Gevurah

Download here or view below Counting the Omer 5780 2020 Week 2

Counting the Omer


April 21: Week 2

The Week of Gevurah

  1. Righteous seekers ought rouse themselves from sleep at midnight to study Torah and meditate in heartfelt prayers. -Shulchan Aruch chapter 1
  1. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” -Joshua 1:8
  1. The moonlight was created for the study of Torah. -Eruvin 65a
  1. Oh you sleepers! Awaken from your sleep! You slumbering ones from your slumber! Search your ways and repent, and remember your Creator. -Rambam Hilchot Teshuvah 3:4
  1. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter is described kibitzing in the market. One of his students inquired about his behavior. Rabbi Yisrael explained that he knew that the life of the man to whom he was taking was filled with sadness, and his soul was overtaken by a dark depression. The only way to lift his burden was with light, pleasant conversation about worldly matters. -Rabbi Chaim Ephraim Zaitchick “Sparks of Mussar”
  1. Rabbi Akiba says “Silence is a protection for wisdom” -Pirkei Avot 3:17
  1. ‘You can only get a feeling for your internal life when you are alone…through the practice of Hitbodedut (solitude) it is possible to build your internal, spiritual world.’ -Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe
  1. “Minimize your business activities and occupy yourself with Torah” -Pirkei Avot 4:9
  1. Earlier generations made the study of Torah their main concern and their livelihood secondary and both prospered. Later generations made livelihood their main concern and Torah study secondary and neither prospered. -Berachot 35b
  1. “Don’t say ‘when I’m free I will study,’ for perhaps you will never be free.” -Pirkei Avot 2:5
  1. “Do not make the Torah a spade with which to dig.” -Pirkei Avot 4:7


לֹ֥א בַשָּׁמַ֖יִם הִ֑וא לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲלֶה־לָּ֤נוּ הַשָּׁמַ֙יְמָה֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה׃

וְלֹֽא־מֵעֵ֥בֶר לַיָּ֖ם הִ֑וא לֵאמֹ֗ר מִ֣י יַעֲבָר־לָ֜נוּ אֶל־עֵ֤בֶר הַיָּם֙ וְיִקָּחֶ֣הָ לָּ֔נוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵ֥נוּ אֹתָ֖הּ וְנַעֲשֶֽׂנָּה׃

כִּֽי־קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖ לַעֲשֹׂתֽוֹ׃

Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.

13. Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto cautions us strongly about “the power of mockery, which obliterates all facets of Mussar and yirah.” -“Path of the Just” chapter 5

14. Abraham and Sarah’s son is called יצחק   meaning he will laugh. He is called Yitzchak because Sarah laughs.

15. “A time to weep and a time to laugh.” – Ecclesiastes 3:4


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