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April 18, 2015
Nisan 29, 5775

Yom HaShoah

Shemini
 

Lev. 9:1-11:47
[Table Talk]

2 Sam. 6:1-7:17

Heb. 8:1-6

 

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Shoah is the Hebrew word for "destruction" and is another name used to refer to the  European Holocaust, when six million Jews - including one and a half million children - were systematically murdered by the Nazis during World War II.  In 1953 the Israeli Knesset designated Nisan 27 as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה), or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

During this day, in Israel, a morning siren sounds, all activity stops, and people stand in honor of those who died during the atrocities of those years. Jews around the world hold memorials and vigils, often lighting six candles in honor of the six million Holocaust victims. Many hold name-reading ceremonies to memorialize those who were murdered. This year, Yom HaShoah begins Wed, April 15th at sundown and runs through the following day.

Counting the Omer - ספירת העומר

We are in the midst of Sefirat Ha-Omer (the "Counting of the Omer"), a 49 day countdown that runs from Nisan 16 through Sivan 5. The first day of the omer count begins on the second day of Passover, and the last day occurs the day before Shavuot ("Pentecost"). On our Gregorian calendars, these dates run from April 4th until May 23rd this year. This is a countdown period leading to the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the giving of the Holy Spirit to Yeshua's disciples...

Rosh Chodesh Iyyar

On the Torah's calendar, the month of Iyyar falls between the great month of redemption (i.e., Nisan) and the third month of revelation (Sivan), and is therefore primarily regarded as a "month of passage" to prepare us for the revelation given at Sinai (Shavuot). Every day of this new month is counted in anticipation of the coming time of Shavuot.
 

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֵיךָ יהוה אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
שֶׁתְּחַדֵּשׁ עָלֵינוּ חדֶשׁ טוֹב בַּאֲדנֵינוּ יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ אָמֵן

ye·hi · ra·tzon · mil·fa·ne·kha · Adonai · E·lo·hei·nu · ve·lo·hei · a·vo·tei·nu
she·te·cha·desh · a·lei·nu · cho·desh · tov · ba·a·do·nei·nu · Ye·shu·a · ha·ma·shi·ach · amen
 

"May it be Your will, LORD our God and God of our fathers,
that you renew for us a good month in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Amen."

Download Study Card
 

Note: Regarding the date for the new month, I follow the "standard" calendar system used by the Jewish community living in the Diaspora worldwide. Rosh Chodesh is celebrated for two days on months with just 29 days, so it will begin a day "early" for Iyyar, that is, on Nisan 30, which this year begins Tuesday, April 9th after sundown.

Blessing before Torah Study:

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Some terms:

  • Parashah is the weekly Scripture portion taken from the Torah. Each parashah is given a name and is usually referred to as "parashat - name" (e.g., parashat Noach). For more information about weekly readings, click here.
     
  • Aliyot refer to a smaller sections of the weekly parashah that are assigned to people of the congregation for public reading during the Torah Reading service. In most congregations it is customary for the person "called up" to recite a blessing for the Torah before and after the assigned section is recited by the cantor. For Shabbat services, there are seven aliyot (and a concluding portion called a maftir). The person who is called to make aliyah is referred to as an oleh (olah, if female).
     
  • Maftir refers to the last Torah aliyah of the Torah chanting service (normally a brief repetition of the 7th aliyah, though on holidays the Maftir portion usually focuses on the Holiday as described in the Torah).  The person who recites the Maftir blessing also recites the blessing over the Haftarah portion.
     
  • Haftarah refers to an additional portion from the Nevi'im (Prophets) read after the weekly Torah portion. The person who made the maftir blessing also recites the blessing for the Haftarah, and may even read the Haftarah before the congregation.
     
  • Brit Chadashah refers to New Testament readings which are added to the traditional Torah Reading cycle. Often blessings over the Brit Chadashah are recited before and after the readings.
     
  • Mei Ketuvim refers to a portion read from the Ketuvim, or writings in the Tanakh. Readings from the Ketuvim are usually reserved for Jewish holidays at the synagogue.
     
  • Perek Yomi Tehillim refers to the daily portion of psalms (mizmorim) recited so that the entire book of Psalms (Tehillim) is read through in a month. For a schedule, of daily Psalm readings, click here.
     
  • Gelilah refers to the tying up and covering the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) as an honor in the synagogue.
     
  • Divrei Torah ("words of Torah") refers to a commentary, a sermon, or devotional on the Torah portion of the week.

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