It is a truth universally acknowledged that it can be difficult to be Jewish at Christmas time. It has seeped into North American cultural consciousness so thoroughly that South Park even wrote a song about it, complete with trademark expletives.
Count your things.
Add them up.
Amass a pile of More.
Grab and gather
in forty-nine steps,
of your herd,
in countless succession:
When someone asked a friend of mine what his daughter enjoys most about living in Israel, he explained that she loves the way the country’s secular rhythms synch seamlessly with religious time in a way that doesn’t happen in North America. By way of example, he described Shabbat and holidays as characterized by closed shops, quiet streets, and low-key television programming.
Literally, “four species.” The Torah specifies four species to bring together on Sukkot. The four species are: lulav (branches of palm trees), etrog (citron), hadasim (myrtle branches), and aravot (willows) (Leviticus 23:40).
"Counting of the omer;" An omer is a biblical measurement of grain. The counting of the omer is 49-day period that begins on the second night of Passover during which each day is counted with a blessing. On the 50th day, the Festival of Shavuot is observed.