April 17, 2015
“God declared: ‘You shall count seven complete weeks after the day following the Passover holiday when you brought the Omer as a wave offering.’” (Leviticus 23:15)
Sefirat Ha-Omer—the counting of the Omer—refers to the 49 days from the second day of our Passover festival.These special days let us recount our journey from Egyptian bondage through the desert and onward to Mount Sinai where we received God’s law and collectively entered into our eternal covenant with God.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, the father of modern orthodoxy, wrote on Sefirat Ha-Omer: “the counting of the 49 days symbolizes the complete elimination of spiritual uncleanliness from the Israelites. On the 50th day they were ready for their final entry into purity; the place of their moral freedom.”
Like our spiritual ancestors, we too can utilize this period of Sefirat Ha-Omer to leave behind our own impurities so as to enter a better place. During this sacred time we can think about that which enslaves us. We can ponder more closely our sins and our faults.We can examine the challenges, both external and internal, that interfere with the spiritual place we truly desire to reside.
The counting of the Omer from Passover to Shavuot is a process that provides a spiritual mirror to our lives. Are we developing the attributes of God’s holiness within our lives? “God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in kindness and truth, preserver of kindness for thousands of generations, forgiver of iniquity, willful sin, and error…” (Ex 34: 6-7)
On Passover we left our Egyptian bondage and today we are free.
But, God was the catalyst for our new found freedom, so how can we remain free without remaining connected to God?
Let’s count the Omer and with each and every new day feel ever more “connected” with God.
Rabbi's Weekly Teaching, April 17, 2015
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