Eating Meat on a Friday

Why are you eating meat today?  It's Friday!

Well, it is Friday - but we're also within the Octave of Christmas!  The first eight days of Christmas is called the "Octave of Christmas." Christmas is one of the greatest solemnities of the Church/liturgical year, second only to Easter, and like Easter - there is an octave of solemnity days attached to it. Therefore today, Friday IS a solemnity (and so are the other seven days)!

Below is what the United States Council of Catholic Bishops states:

Christmas Season

Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year, second only to Easter itself. It is the feast of the incarnation, the feast of God becoming flesh (the Latin "in carne" means "enfleshment"). It is a uniquely Christian teaching, the Divine choosing to become one of us. Because of this belief,God is not only Transcendent, but also wholly Immanent, Emmanuel (God-with-us). While remaining Transcendent (meaning we must rise above our present condition to reach Him), He is at the same time Immanent (meaning He is with us as we rise toward Him). Every Eucharist is like Christmas where the bread and wine are transformed into His flesh, His Body and Blood, and, in a sense, He is born anew on the altar. 

The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him…including the fact that he was born to die for us.

The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are popular symbols of the season and a tradition in many Christian homes. It is also traditional to exchange Christmas gifts with family and friends as a way to honor God the Father's gift of his only son to the world. Having received the gift of Christ, we naturally want to pass that gift along to our loved ones.


Chapter 1, Title 1, Section III
12. The celebration of the two greatest Solemnities, Easter and the Nativity, is extended over eight days. Each Octave is governed by its own rules.

So, that's right - you CAN have that cheeseburger today for it is a...

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today is the Fourth (and last) Sunday in Advent!  The Christ Mass is right around the corner!

Today also marks the final day of the O Antiphons for the year.  See our article marking this day as well. 

Here's hoping you had a blessed Advent season as well as looking forward to the Christ Mass season, which just BEGINS on Christmas Day.  Christmas lasts from Christmas Day through at least Epiphany (January 6th) which are the Twelve Days of Christmas, or in older traditions Christmas lasts through Candlemas (February 2nd).

December 23 - The Final Day of the O Antiphons

December 23 - The Final Day of the O Antiphons

The wait is nearly over!  Advent is drawing to a close and tomorrow is the eve of the Christ Mass, or was we more commonly call it, "Christmas."

Pray with your family: 

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Read to or with your family:
Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel".
Isaiah 33:22: "Indeed the Lord will be there with us,  majestic.  Yes, the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save

Sing with your family:

O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Have yourself a merry and blessed Christ Mass.

Advent is drawing to a close, and this is our last day of the O Antiphons.  O come, o come, Emmanuel - and ransom captive Israel.
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst...Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Jn. 6:35, 49-51

God has always been with us, but the Incarnation radically changed His manner of being "with us." The most sacred item for the people of the Old Testament was the Ark of the Covenant, which contained several holy objects: the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, God's word inscribed by God Himself; a jar of the manna with which God fed them in the desert; and Aaron's rod, the symbol of his priesthood (Heb. 9:4). From the moment of the Incarnation, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is called the Ark of the New Covenant, she held within her womb the Word of God in the flesh, who is the true manna in the Most Holy Eucharist, and who is the Eternal High Priest. Emmanuel, "God with us," loves us with an intensity that is beyond our human comprehension, but we can begin to grasp it when we approach Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and receive Him into ourselves. Wherever the sanctuary light burns, He is there with us, but He is even closer to us when we receive Him, so that He can begin to transform us in Himself. He is not a God who remains distant, but one who enters into our lives, and into our very beings, bringing His infinite mercy and forgiveness. We long to be loved, and He longs for our love. As we approach the great mystery of Christmas, may He grant us the grace of deep, unwavering devotion to His presence in the Eucharist. O come, o come Emmanuel!
In Closing:
I hope this journey through "The Golden Nights" or the "Great O Antiphons" has blessed you and a piece of it remains with you throughout the entire year.  Every Mass we participate in, we celebrate the coming of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  During Advent we focus on this anticipation, but let us be eagerly anticipating receiving Him at every Mass we attend.  If we are in the state of mortal sin, this anticipation should make us all the more motivated to reconcile through the Sacrament of Penance, just as we're called to do penance in the season of Advent - to prepare our hearts and mind for the coming and reception of our Lord.  If you're not in the state of grace, go talk with your confessor!  Do not fear the confessional - it is a place of renewal, a new and fresh start.  We all falter and fall short of the Glory of God, but pick yourself up and get yourself right with God.  Be constantly reminded of Advent and O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom our captive souls.

Dec 22 O Antiphon - O King of Nations

We pray:


O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.
See Haggai 2:8: Et movebo omnes gentes,et veniet desideratus cunctis gentibus. Compare the Greek πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. Isaiah had prophesied:

  • "For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
  • "He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:4
We sing:

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Dec 21 - O Oriens - O Morning Star

O Oriens

We Pray:


O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
(Note: A literal translation of the Latin yields "O Rising Sun", but the poetic "O Morning Star" or "O Dayspring" is often preferred.)
The phrase 'O Oriens' comes from Zach. 3:8 : τὸν δοῦλόν μου Ἀνατολήν and servum meum Orientem. This should be compared with the Hebrew tzemach. Isaiah had prophesied:

  • "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2

And we sing:

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


And a special shout-out to my little brother!  Happy Birthday!

Dec 20 - O Key of David

O Key of David



O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah had prophesied:

  • "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22
  • "His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." Isaiah 9:7
  • "...To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."Isaiah 42:7.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Ember Days

Today is an Ember Day...

EMBER: a small piece of burning or glowing coal or wood in a dying fire.
EMBER DAYS: Wednesday, Friday & Saturday before Christmas. Pray & Fast to IGNITE 🔥the tiny embers in our souls.
"Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient." (Romans 12:11-13)


Dec 19 - O Root

Day 3 - O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse


O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
Isaiah had prophesied:

  • "A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1
  • "On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious." Isaiah 11:10
Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Also compare Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15 and Romans 15:12.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

Dec 18 - O Adonai

Today is the second day of the O Antiphons and we sing:

[Verse 2]
O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud, and majesty and awe

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

And we pray:


O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Dec 17 - O Antiphons

Today begins the O Antiphons!

Do you have a tradition to celebrate and recognize the O Antiphons?  In our family we set up a "Jesse Tree" and each day, starting with today, December 17, we hang a different "O" from the O Antiphons. 
"The importance of O Antiphons is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah...
If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, Tomorrow, I will come. Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, Tomorrow, I will come. So the O Antiphons not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion." (What Are the O Antiphons)

Isaiah 11:1-2:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness.

The O Antiphons are put to verse in a very popular Advent carol, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." (Play the YouTube video at the top of this article).

Day One we sing:

[Verse 6]
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things, far and nigh
To us the path of knowledge show
And cause us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

And we pray:

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.


O Antiphons - Wiki - Retrieved from: 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Retrieved from:

Third Sunday in Advent

Why the pink candle and vestments today?

Well, first of all - we refer to today's color as "rose."  One priest explained a way to remember this is to ask what Jesus did on Easter Sunday - did He "rise" or did He "pink." Obviously we say He "rose" from the dead, victorious over death - a joyous occasion!  That's the REAL meaning behind the rose colored candle and vestments.  Today is Guadete Sunday, or Joyful Sunday. We are joyful that Advent is nearly over and it will soon be the start of the Christmas Season!

Keep in mind, Advent is a penitent season, much like Lent. This is a season of meditation and making straight the way of the Lord in our lives.  Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

A song I fondly recall from my youth is "Rejoice in the Lord Always (and again I say Rejoice!), is taken straight from the readings of today's Mass, Philippians 4:4 - (click on video below)...

Tomorrow starts the final countdown to the end of Advent with the O Antiphons. The O Antiphons are actually sung through the Advent song of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." See video below...

May your Advent Season draw to a glorious - and JOYFUL - close!!  It's almost time to ring in the Christ Mass!

Advent Penance Service Idiocy

Advent Penance Service Idiocy

Fr. Z exposes some really weird ones sometimes!

Advent Suggestions

With the beginning of Advent, I wished to post this now as it is a great tradition in our Catholic Faith, one which we should continue and observe and though not practiced until the Octave Before the Christ Mass, I want to give you time to prepare and be ready for December 17th.

The Great O Antiphons

The history of the Great O Antiphons dates back to as early as the third century (1) as an ancient part of our liturgy.  Boethius, who was around in the late 5th to early 6th century, makes reference to them (2).  The actual existence of the O Antiphons may go back to the earliest days of the Church.  They are part of the Vespers Liturgy of Hours during the octave before the Christ Mass (Christmas) which begins on December 17 and goes through the 23rd.  One December 24th the vespers are for Christmas Eve.

December 17 - O Wisdom
December 18 - O Adonai
December 19 - O Root of Jesse
December 20 - O Key of David
December 21 - O Dawn
December 22 - O King of Gentiles
December 23 - O Emmanuel

From Fr. Zuhlsdorf's ("Fr. Z") page on the subject:
Here are two more interesting notes about these O Antiphons.

The first is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah are: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel).  Take the first letters of each of the titles, starting with the last and working back to the first. You spell: EROCRAS or "ero cras... I will be (there) tomorrow".

The song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is simply a reworking of the seven O Antiphons. When you sing it, you are joining yourself to a vast throng of Christians stretching back across centuries and spanning the whole of the earth who prayed as all Christians do, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20)  (3)
 Perhaps the "backwards" acrostic can be related to the earlier language of Hebrew, as it is read from right to left?

According to hymology, the English form of the hymn, which most of us know and sing during Advent, comes to us from an Anglican priest who discovered the medieval antiphons, which were chanted in Latin, and he translated them into English in the mid 19th century.  The melody is actually taken from a funeral rite and the words "Bone iesu, dulcis cunctis" were used.  That funeral rite dates back to the 15th century.  It is also possible that the funeral rite borrowed from the Advent rite which had not been recorded/written or perhaps just not discovered yet - which is quite possible since some of what we know of this hymn has come to light as recent as the 1960's. (4) and (5)

Practices / Traditions

1) The Jesse Tree 
A special tree, for Advent, many start with December 1 and have 24-25 ornaments for this tree.  Each ornament speaks of the history of Jesus' roots - in the line of Jesse (the father of King David).  December 17-23 you use ornaments specific to the O Antiphons.  (6)  This is nice, but the O Antiphons may get "lost" in the shuffle of all the other ornaments and not have as significant impact.  There's still the tradition of the Advent Calendar too, typically it has a "window" you open for each day of Advent with a special picture and/or Bible verse for the day.  Some use a shadow box and place a special ornament in each opening for each day of Advent (see examples below).

Personally, I would prefer a tree specific to the O Antiphons...
It's simple, but direct and as we pray and sing as a family the antiphons from O Come, O Come Emmanuel each day - the song and the season has deeper meaning.

2) The O Antiphon House
There are several variations of this one.  One of my favorites is a shadow box frame in the shape of a house with the seven openings, each to contain an ornament or a block with the antiphon of the day on it.

3) Be Creative!  
Perhaps you have an idea of your own or a tradition celebrated in your family.  If so, please feel free to share it here!  Here's another idea, using candles: (7)


Other Advent Calendars:

Hanukkah Day 8

Mimi: Are there 7 candles or 9?

Grandson: There are EIGHT candles, the one in the middle is used to light the others!

December 8 - Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

For a long time as a Protestant, and even up until I think my first celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - I was under the impression that this referred to the conception of Jesus! Au contrare, mon ami!  This day commemorates the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. It is a miraculous event because at the very moment of her conception she was given a special grace - to be spared from the stain of Original Sin. This fact was defined, infallibly, by Pope Pius IX in 1854 in a sentence from the papal bull, Ineffabils Deus:
We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. (Source).
Something else that I, as a Protestant, did not realize is that the entire papal bull is not wholey infallible - just that sentence! Just where the definition is made is considered infallible, not the whole document. That was yet another common misconception of Protestants and goes along with the thinking, "Catholics believe popes are infallible." Which can be a true statement, but in actuality, Catholics only believe a pope is infallible when he speaks "ex cathedra" - that is, "from the Chair" (of St. Peter).

Why do Catholics make such a big deal of Mary?

Well, she IS a big deal!  Much in the same manner of how sin first entered the world through a woman, Eve; Mary is considered "The Second Eve" - in that through her and her fiat, the redemption of the whole world is made possible. We commemorate this with every "Hail Mary" we pray. Keep in mind, the "Hail Mary" comes straight from Scripture! 
Luke 1:28 - And the angel (Gabriel) being come in, said unto her: Hail, (Mary), full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.Luke 1:42 - And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Jesus).
Again, as a Protestant, I was not aware of how scriptural the "Hail Mary" prayer is.

What does it mean to be free from the stain of Original Sin?

As we have already said, and most Christians agree with, sin entered the world initially through the act of a woman, Eve, and we call this the Original Sin. Every human being, save four (Adam, Eve, Mary and Jesus) are born with this fallen nature - a stain upon their soul. This fallen nature is enough to keep us from entering into Heaven - for nothing impure can enter there (Rev. 21:27). Making each and every one of us in need of a Savior, a Redeemer, who would make it possible to have every stain of sin washed away.

Mary was preserved from this stain for she was chosen, by God, to be the Ark of the New Covenant, the God-Bearer, the one who was given the singular honor to be the "Mother of our Lord" (Luke 1:43). Being this vessel to carry our Lord and God within her, she was given this gift of having not even the stain of Original Sin.

Being preserved from the stain of Original Sin does not mean she was preserved from the penalty of Original Sin - which is physical death. There is some room for debate here because, again, this is not part of the definition of the Immaculate Conception. Did she die or did she merely fall asleep (the Dormition, as our Eastern Catholics and Orthodox refer to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin). This will be the topic for another blog entry (and has been) for August 15th.

Hanukkah Day 7

Hanukkah Day 7

Saturday evening, Shabbat ends and thus begins the Seventh Day of Hanukkah (per the 2018 calendar).

Blessing the Candles
Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav, ve-tzivanu le-hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us by his commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
Second Blessing
Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam she-asa nisim la-avotenu ba-yamim ha-hem ba-zeman ha-zeh.
Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.
7th Night of Hanukkah, a celebration of Triumphant Defiance, Seduction & Cheese. (Bronze Hanukkah Lamp, Italy, 18th/19th Century)
"Depicts Yehudit (Judith) holding Holofernes' head in her left hand and his sword in the other. On the base, two lions whose tails intertwine with the foliage, which in turn spring up into two cornucopia. Fronted by a row of eight oil fonts and Shamash light fitted on the upper right.”
The 7th Night of Hanukkah is dedicated to the beautiful, clever, cool-witted widow who lived in the ancient town of Bethuliah. When her town was besieged and death stared them all in the face, Yihudit hatched a plan to save her town. She went to the encampment of the enemy and ingratiated herself into the tent of the general Holofernes. She seduced him, plied him with cheese and copious cups of wine, and when he passed out in a drunken stupor, she severed his head with his own sword. The next morning, seeing the decapitated body of their general, the enemy soldiers were thrown into a panic and fled. Yihudit had saved her town. We eat cheese dishes on the 7th night of Hanukkah in celebration of this heroine. (Source). 

Hanukkah Day 6

Sixth Day of Hanukkah

The Hanukiah should remain lit for at least 30 minutes.
On Friday night, the Menorah should be lit 18 minutes before sundown. Then the Shabbat candles should be lit. The reason for this is because you can not light anything during Shabbat. Yes, tonight at sundown also begins Shabbat (Sabbath).
Shabbat Candles

This video tells much of the Torah readings for today!

First Portion

Genesis Chapter 41

1It came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh was dreaming, and behold, he was standing by the Nile.
2And behold, from the Nile were coming up seven cows, of handsome appearance and robust flesh, and they pastured in the marshland.
3And behold, seven other cows were coming up after them from the Nile, of ugly appearance and lean of flesh, and they stood beside the cows [which were] on the Nile bank.
4And the cows of ugly appearance and lean of flesh devoured the seven cows that were of handsome appearance and healthy; then Pharaoh awoke.
5And he fell asleep and dreamed again, and behold, seven ears of grain were growing on one stalk, healthy and good.
6And behold, seven ears of grain, thin and beaten by the east wind, were growing up after them.
7And the thin ears of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears of grain; then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, a dream.
8Now it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; so he sent and called all the necromancers of Egypt and all its sages, and Pharaoh related to them his dream, but no one interpreted them for Pharaoh.
9Now the chief cupbearer spoke with Pharaoh, saying, "I call to mind my faults today.
10Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and he put me in prison, in the house of the chief slaughterer, me and the chief baker.
11And we dreamed a dream on the same night, I and he; each one according to the interpretation of his dream, we dreamed.
12And there with us was a Hebrew lad, a slave of the chief slaughterer, and we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; [for] each [of us], he interpreted according to his dream.
13And it came to pass that just as he had interpreted, so it was; me he restored to my position, and him he hanged."
14So Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they rushed him from the dungeon, and he shaved and changed his clothes, and he [then] came to Pharaoh.

Second Portion

Genesis Chapter 41

15And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it, but I have heard it said of you [that] you understand a dream, to interpret it."
16And Joseph replied to Pharaoh, saying, "Not I; God will give an answer [that will bring] peace to Pharaoh."
17And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile.
18And behold, seven cows of robust flesh and handsome form were ascending from the Nile, and they pastured in the marshland.
19And behold, seven other cows were ascending after them, emaciated and of very ugly form and with meager flesh; I have not seen such ugly ones throughout the entire land of Egypt.
20And the meager and ugly cows devoured the first seven healthy cows.
21And they went inside them, but it was not known that they had gone inside of them, for their appearance was as ugly as in the beginning; then I awoke.
22Then I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears of grain were growing on one stalk, full and good.
23And behold, seven ears of grain, hardened, thin, and beaten by the east wind, were growing up after them.
24And the thin ears of grain swallowed up the seven good ears of grain; I told the necromancers, but no one tells me [its meaning]."
25And Joseph said to Pharaoh, "Pharaoh's dream is one; what God is doing He has told Pharaoh.
26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears of grain are seven years; it is one dream.
27And the seven meager and ugly cows coming up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears of grain, beaten by the east wind, will be seven years of famine.
28It is this matter that I have spoken to Pharaoh; what God is about to do He has shown Pharaoh.
29Behold, seven years are coming, great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt.
30And seven years of famine will arise after them, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will destroy the land.
31And the plenty will not be known because of that famine to follow, for it [will be] very severe.
32And concerning the repetition of the dream to Pharaoh twice that is because the matter is ready [to emanate] from God, and God is hastening to execute it.
33So now, let Pharaoh seek out an understanding and wise man and appoint him over the land of Egypt.
34Let Pharaoh do [this] and appoint officials over the land and prepare the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty.
35And let them collect all the food of these coming good years, and let them gather the grain under Pharaoh's hand, food in the cities, and keep it.
36Thus the food will remain as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will be in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not be destroyed by the famine."
37The matter pleased Pharaoh and all his servants.
38So Pharaoh said to his servants, "Will we find [anyone] like this, a man in whom there is the spirit of God?"

Third Portion

Genesis Chapter 41

39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has let you know all this, there is no one as understanding and wise as you.
40You shall be [appointed] over my household, and through your command all my people shall be nourished; only [with] the throne will I be greater than you."
41So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Look, I have appointed you over the entire land of Egypt."
42And Pharaoh removed his ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph's hand, and he attired him [with] raiment of fine linen, and he placed the golden chain around his neck.
43And he had him ride in his chariot of second rank, and they called out before him, "[This is] the king's patron," appointing him over the entire land of Egypt.
44And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and besides you, no one may lift his hand or his foot in the entire land of Egypt."
45And Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath Pa'neach, and he gave him Asenath the daughter of Poti phera, the governor of On, for a wife, and Joseph went forth over the land of Egypt.
46And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and Joseph went out from before Pharaoh and passed through the entire land of Egypt.
47And in the seven years of plenty, [the inhabitants of] the land gathered [food] by handfuls.
48And he collected all the food of the seven years that was in the land of Egypt, and he placed food in the cities, the food of the field surrounding the city, he put within it.
49And Joseph gathered grain like the sand of the sea, in great abundance, until [one] stopped counting, because there was no number.
50And to Joseph were born two sons before the year of the famine set in, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti phera, the governor of On, bore to him.
51And Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, for "God has caused me to forget all my toil and all my father's house."
52And the second one he named Ephraim, for "God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction."

Fourth Portion

Genesis Chapter 41

53And the seven years of plenty that were in the land of Egypt were finished.
54And the seven years of famine began, as Joseph had said, and there was famine in all the lands, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread.
55When the entire land of Egypt hungered, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread, but Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; what he tells you, do."
56Now the famine spread over all the face of the land, and Joseph opened all [the storehouses] in which there was [grain], and he sold [it] to the Egyptians, and the famine intensified in the land of Egypt.
57And all [the inhabitants of] the land came to Egypt to Joseph to purchase, for the famine had intensified in the entire land.

Genesis Chapter 42

1Jacob saw that there was grain being sold in Egypt; so Jacob said to his sons, "Why do you appear satiated?"
2And he said, "Behold, I have heard that there is grain being sold in Egypt. Go down there and buy us [some] from there, so that we will live and not die."
3So Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.
4But Joseph's brother, Benjamin, Jacob did not send with his brothers, because, he said, "Lest misfortune befall him."
5So the sons of Israel came to purchase among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; it was he who sold grain to the entire populace of the land, and Joseph's brothers came and prostrated themselves to him, with their faces to the ground.
7And Joseph saw his brothers, and he recognized them, but he made himself a stranger to them, and he spoke to them harshly, and he said to them, "Where do you come from?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan to purchase food."
8Now Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
9And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them, and he said to them, "You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land."
10And they said to him, "No, my master, your servants have come to buy food.
11We are all sons of one man. We are honest. Your servants were never spies."
12But he said to them, "No! But you have come to see the nakedness of the land."
13And they said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is gone."
14And Joseph said to them, "This is just what I have spoken to you, saying, 'You are spies.'
15With this you shall be tested: By Pharaoh's life, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here.
16Send one of you and let him fetch your brother, and you will be imprisoned so that your words will be tested whether truth is with you, and if not, as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!"
17And he put them in prison for three days.
18On the third day, Joseph said to them: "Do this and live I fear God.

Fifth Portion

Genesis Chapter 42

19If you are honest, your one brother will be confined in your prison, and you, go bring the grain for the hunger of your households.
20And bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified, and you will not die." And they did so.
21And they said to one another, "Indeed, we are guilty for our brother, that we witnessed the distress of his soul when he begged us, and we did not listen. That is why this trouble has come upon us."
22And Reuben answered them, saying, "Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Do not sin against the lad,' but you did not listen? Behold, his blood, too, is being demanded!"
23They did not know that Joseph understood, for the interpreter was between them.
24And he turned away from them and wept, then returned to them and spoke to them; and he took Simeon from among them and imprisoned him before their eyes.
25And Joseph commanded, and they filled their vessels with grain, and [he commanded] to return their money into each one's sack, and to give them provisions for the journey, and he did so for them.
26And they loaded their grain upon their donkeys, and they went away from there.
27The one opened his sack to give fodder to his donkey at the lodging place, and he saw his money there it was, in the mouth of his sack.
28And he said to his brothers, "My money has been returned, and indeed, here it is in my sack! " Their hearts sank, and trembling, they turned to one another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?"
29And they came to Jacob their father, to the land of Canaan, and they told him all that had befallen them, saying,
30"The man, the lord of the land, spoke to us harshly, and he accused us of spying on the land.
31And we said to him, 'We are honest; we were never spies.
32We are twelve brothers, the sons of our father; one is gone, and today the youngest is with our father in the land of Canaan.'
33And the man, the lord of the land, said to us, 'With this I will know that you are honest; leave one of your brothers with me, and [what is needed for] the hunger of your households, take and go.
34And bring your youngest brother to me, so that I will know that you are not spies, that you are honest; [then] I will give you your brother, and you may travel around in the land.' "
35And it came to pass that they were emptying their sacks and behold! Each one's bundle of money was in his sack; they saw the bundles of their money, they and their father, and they became frightened.
36And their father Jacob said to them, "You have bereaved me-Joseph is gone, and Simeon is gone, and you want to take Benjamin! All these troubles have come upon me."
37And Reuben spoke to his father, saying, "You may put my two sons to death if I don't bring him (Benjamin) to you. Put him into my hand[s] and I will return him to you."
38But he (Jacob) said, "My son shall not go down with you, because his brother is dead, and he alone is left, and if misfortune befalls him on the way you are going, you will bring down my gray head in sorrow to the grave."

Genesis Chapter 43

1But the hunger was severe in the land.
2And it came to pass, when they finished eating the grain that they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, "Go back [and] buy us a little food."
3But Judah spoke to him, saying, "The man warned us repeatedly, saying, 'You shall not see my face if your brother is not with you.'
4If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food for you.
5But if you do not send [him], we will not go down, because the man said to us, 'You shall not see my face if your brother is not with you.' "
6And Israel said, "Why have you harmed me, by telling the man that you have another brother?"
7They said, "The man asked about us and about our family, saying, 'Is your father still alive? Do you have a brother?' And we told him according to these words. Could we have known that he would say, 'Bring your brother down'?"
8And Judah said to Israel, his father, "Send the lad with me, and we will get up and go, and we will live and not die, both we and you and also our young children.
9I will guarantee him; from my hand you can demand him. If I do not bring him to you and stand him up before you, I will have sinned against you forever.
10For had we not tarried, by now we would have already returned twice."
11So Israel, their father, said to them, "If so, then do this: take some of the choice products of the land in your vessels, and take down to the man as a gift, a little balm and a little honey, wax and lotus, pistachios and almonds.
12And take double the money in your hand[s], and the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks you shall return in your hand[s], perhaps it was an error.
13And take your brother, and get up, go back to the man.
14And may the Almighty God grant you compassion before the man, and he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin, and as for me as I am bereaved, I am bereaved."
15So the men took this gift, and they took double the money in their hand[s] and Benjamin, and they got up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.

Sixth Portion

Genesis Chapter 43

16[When] Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the overseer of his house, "Bring the men into the house and [give orders] to slaughter an animal and to prepare, for the men will eat with me at lunch."
17And the man did as Joseph had said, and the man brought the men into Joseph's house.
18Now the men were frightened because they had been brought into Joseph's house, and they said, "On account of the money that came back in our sacks at first, we are brought, to roll upon us and to fall upon us and to take us as slaves and our donkeys [as well]."
19So they drew near the man who was over Joseph's house, and they spoke to him at the entrance of the house.
20And they said, "Please, my lord, we came down at first to purchase food.
21And it came to pass when we came to the lodging place that we opened our sacks, and behold! each man's money was in the mouth of his sack, and we returned it in our hand[s].
22And we brought down other money in our hand[s] to purchase food. We do not know who put our money into our sacks."
23And he said, "Peace to you; fear not. Your God and the God of your father gave you a treasure in your sacks; your money came to me." And he brought Simeon out to them.
24Then the man brought the men (the brothers) into Joseph's house, and he gave [them] water, and they washed their feet, and he gave fodder to their donkeys.
25And they prepared the gift until Joseph would come at lunchtime, for they heard that there they would eat bread.
26And Joseph came home, and they brought him the gift that was in their hand[s], into the house, and they prostrated themselves to him to the ground.
27He inquired after their welfare, and he said to them, "Is your elderly father, whom you mentioned, well? Is he still alive?"
28And they said, "Your servant, our father, is well; he is still alive." And they bowed and prostrated themselves.
29And he lifted his eyes and saw Benjamin, his brother, the son of his mother, and he said, "Is this your little brother, whom you told me about?" And he said, "May God favor you, my son. "
30And Joseph hastened, for his mercy was stirred toward his brother, and he wanted to weep; so he went into the room and wept there.
31And he washed his face and came out, and he restrained himself and said, "Serve the food."
32And they set for him separately and for them separately, and for the Egyptians who ate with him separately, because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, because it is an abomination to the Egyptians.
33They sat before him, the firstborn according to his age, and the youngest according to his youth, and the men looked at each other in astonishment.
34And he had portions brought to them from before him, and Benjamin's portion was five times as large as the portions of any of them, and they drank and became intoxicated with him.

Genesis Chapter 44

1Then he commanded the overseer of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money into the mouth of his sack.
2And my goblet, the silver goblet, put into the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his purchase money." And he did according to Joseph's word, which he had spoken.
3The morning became light, and the men were sent [on their way] they and their donkeys.
4They had exited the city, but had not gone far when Joseph said to the overseer of his house, "Get up, pursue the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, 'Why have you repaid good with evil?
5Is not this the one my master drinks from? Why, he even divines with it! You have done evil by the way you have acted.' "
6He overtook them, and he said these words to them.
7And they said to him, "Why should my master say such words as these? Far be it from your servants to do a thing like this!
8Behold, the money we found in the mouth of our sacks we returned to you from the land of Canaan; so how could we steal from your master's house silver or gold?
9Whichever one of your servants with whom it is found shall die, and also we will be slaves to my master."
10And he said, "Now indeed, so it is as you have spoken. [But] the one with whom it is found shall be my slave, and you shall be cleared."
11So they hastened, and each one lowered his sack to the ground, and each one opened his sack.
12He searched; he started with the eldest and finished with the youngest, and the goblet was found in Benjamin's sack.
13So they rent their garments, and each one loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.
14And Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, and he was still there, and they fell before him upon the ground.
15And Joseph said to them, "What is this deed that you have committed? Don't you know that a person like me practices divination?"
16And Judah said, "What shall we say to my master? What shall we speak, and how shall we exonerate ourselves? God has found your servants' iniquity, behold, we are my lord's servants, both we and the one in whose possession the goblet has been found."
17But he said, "Far be it from me to do this! The man in whose possession the goblet was found he shall be my slave, but as for you go up in peace to your father."

Seventh Portion

Numbers Chapter 28

9And on the Sabbath day, two unblemished lambs in the first year, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a meal offering, mixed with oil, and its libation.
10[This is] the burnt offering of each Sabbath on its Sabbath, in addition to the continual burnt offering and its libation.
11And on the beginning of your months, you shall offer up a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in the first year, [all] unblemished.
12Three tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a meal offering, mixed with oil for each bull, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a meal offering, mixed with oil for each ram.
13And one tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a meal offering for each lamb. A burnt offering with a spirit of satisfaction, a fire offering to the Lord.
14And their libations: a half of a hin for each bull, a third of a hin for each ram, and a quarter of a hin for each lamb wine; this is the burnt offering of each new month in its month, throughout the months of the year.
15And one young male goat for a sin offering to the Lord; it shall be offered up in addition to the continual burnt offering and its libation.

Maftir Portion

Numbers Chapter 7

42On the sixth day, the chieftain was of the sons of Gad, Eliasaph the son of De'uel.
43His offering was one silver bowl weighing one hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver sprinkling basin [weighing] seventy shekels according to the holy shekel, both filled with fine flour mixed with olive oil for a meal offering.
44One spoon [weighing] ten [shekels] of gold filled with incense.
45One young bull, one ram and one lamb in its first year for a burnt offering.
46One young he goat for a sin offering.
47And for the peace offering: two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs in their first year; this was the offering of Eliasaph the son of De'uel.


Zechariah Chapter 2

14Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for, behold! I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord.
15And many nations shall join the Lord on that day, and they shall be My people; and I will dwell in your midst and you shall know that the Lord of Hosts sent me to you.
16And the Lord shall inherit Judah as His share on the Holy Land, and He shall again choose Jerusalem.
17Silence all flesh from before the Lord, for He is aroused out of His holy habitation.

Zechariah Chapter 3

1And He showed me Joshua, the High Priest, standing before the angel of the Lord. And Satan was standing on his right, to accuse him.
2And the Lord said to Satan: The Lord shall rebuke you, O Satan; and the Lord shall rebuke you, He who chose Jerusalem. Is this one not a brand plucked from fire?
3Now Joshua was wearing filthy garments and standing before the angel.
4And he [the angel] raised his voice and said to those standing before him, saying, "Take the filthy garments off him." And he said to him, "See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I have clad you with clean garments."
5And I said, "Let them put a pure miter on his head," and they put the pure miter on his head. And they had clothed him with garments while the angel of the Lord was standing.
6And the angel of the Lord warned Joshua, saying,
7So said the Lord of Hosts: If you walk in My ways, and if you keep My charge, you, too, shall judge My house, and you, too, shall guard My courtyards, and I will give you free access among these who stand by.
8Hearken, now, O Joshua the High Priest-you and your companions who sit before you, for they are men worthy of a miracle-for, behold! I bring My servant, the Shoot.
9For, behold the stone that I have placed before Joshua. Seven eyes are directed to one stone. Behold! I untie its knots, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
10On that day, says the Lord of Hosts, you shall call-each man to his neighbor-to come under his vine and under his fig tree.

Zechariah Chapter 4

1And the angel who spoke with me returned, and he awakened me as a man who wakes up from his sleep.
2And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I said, "I saw, and behold [there was] a candelabrum all of gold, with its oil-bowl on top of it, and its seven lamps thereon; seven tubes each to the lamps that were on top of it.
3And [there were] two olive trees near it; one on the right of the bowl, and one on its left.
4So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, "What are these, my lord?"
5And the angel who spoke with me answered, and he said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord."
6And he answered and spoke to me, saying, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying: 'Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,' says the Lord of Hosts.
7Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you sink to a plain! He will bring out the stone of the main architect, with shouts of grace, grace to it."

Isaiah Chapter 66

1So says the Lord, "The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool; which is the house that you will build for Me, and which is the place of My rest?

Isaiah Chapter 66

23And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, that all flesh shall come to prostrate themselves before Me," says the Lord.
24"And they shall go out and see the corpses of the people who rebelled against Me, for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring for all flesh."

Isaiah Chapter 66

23And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, that all flesh shall come to prostrate themselves before Me," says the Lord.

I Samuel Chapter 20

18And Jonathan said to him, "Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be remembered, for your seat will be vacant.

I Samuel Chapter 20

42And Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace! (And bear in mind) that we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, 'May the Lord be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.' "

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...