Gemara, Jewish learning, learning

Letting the Light Shine In

We started a new Masechet of Gemara yesterday, moving from Eruvin to Pesachim. Yeah! This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy Eruvin, or maybe it is. I really found many things about Eruvin to be over my head, really complicated, and cumbersome. The moment that we started to talk about geometry, I knew that I was doomed. Geometry was the only class that I ever failed in my life; well, I got a D so I guess you can’t so that’s a fail, but it’s close enough.

Let’s just say that Eruvin was quite an experience.

I had to laugh, yesterday, as we started Pesachim and the first thing we discussed had to do with the word “Or” which means light in Hebrew. We start the tractate by talking about the night before Pesach, when you search the house for chametz (leavened bread). The Mishna uses the word “Or” to indicate night, and to say that this is when the check for chametz should take place. There is then a very long discussion about the word “Or” and whether it really indicates night or day.

And, I had to smile. In 2011, I wrote a short blog post about the word “Or” called Boker Or. To this day, whenever I check my blog statistics, I find that this specific blog gets seen more than any other. I have absolutely no idea why – but it makes me smile every time that I see that someone has, yet again, dug up this post from so long ago and read it.

I just love the word “Or” and here is why.

****************Thoughts from 2011 **************

I was struck this morning by the most ubiquitous expression. While dropping my kids off at school, I said, “Boker Tov” to someone walking by. This means “Good Morning” in Hebrew and is offered anytime that you see someone during the morning hours.

In response, he said, “Boker Or.” “Boker Or” is the typical response when someone says “Boker Tov.” It’s general meaning is to wish someone a good morning. The direct translation, however is “Morning of Light.” When saying “Boker Or” you are wishing someone a morning of light.

What a beautiful way to start the day.

What a lovely way to wish someone a good morning.

May you have a day of light today…a day of productivity…of beauty…of vibrancy.

Boker Or, indeed.


And what a beautiful way to be welcomed into the next Masechet, the next section of the Gemara, which will lead us up to just a few days before Pesach.

In these dark winter months where there is so much COVID fear and feeling of isolation, may the light of health, happiness and strength shine on all of us and brighten the way.

1 thought on “Letting the Light Shine In

  1. Thank you for the Gemara lesson. I have always heard Boker Tov, but never Boker Or. I now know why it is the reply. Thanks!

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