We are now in the period of the Omer, which lasts for seven weeks from the second day of Passover to Shavuot. This period of time serves to connect the anniversary of the exodus from Egypt with the festival of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Tradition has is that the Israelites, so eager for the promised day of receiving the gift of the Torah, began to count the days, just as we would anticipating the arrival of something special.
Psalm 90 tells us, “Teach us to number our days that we may attain a heart of wisdom.” Let’s take a look at numbers. The number 7, which has many associations in the Bible and Rabbinic tradition, is primarily associated with the creation of the world. The week, the basic unit of our lives, is 7 days long and culminates in the perfect rest of Shabbat. Multiples of 7, similarly, are related to life, as the Psalmist says, “Three score and ten our years may number.”
We may experience in the Omer’s 7x7 a symbolic movement through life, from our launching at birth (liberation) to spiritual fulfillment (revelation). The period of the counting of the Omer provides an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the moment when we will stand once again at Sinai to receive the revelation of Torah, on Shavuot. We have a chance to restore our soul to wholeness and to re-establish our connection with God.
As I have said before, we not only count the days, but we try to make each day count. Counting our days is a lot like counting our blessings, as we get from our Start to our Finish. We can make each day count when we appreciate the gift of each day and make it special.
NOTE: We will be saying Yizkor on Saturday, May 19.
L’hitra’ot, until next time!