Forethoughts and Afterthoughts.
Commentary on the weekly Torah reading.
In memory of Father, Yosef Ben Zelig.
March 25th 1911 - May 2nd 2008
In memory of Mother, Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh.
June 9th 1925 - April 16th 2003
In memory of Uncle, Moshe Binyamin Ben Tzvi Hirsh.
December 12 1929 - February 2nd 2010
In Loving Memory of Moreinu Horav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva Ner Yisroel
Counting the Omer
23:15 And you shall count for yourselves from the morrow of the (day) of cessation (of eating leaven [e.g. Passover]), from the day that you bring the Omer of Waiving (offering). (This counting) shall be for seven complete weeks.
23:16 Until the morrow of the seventh week (which is the holiday of Shavuos) you shall count fifty days. And you shall (then) offer a new meal offering to G-D.
Passover commemorates our freedom from slavery. Shavuos commemorates our accepting upon ourselves and our receiving the Torah.
The counting of the Omer appears to connect Passover with Shavuos and suggests the following.
A person can obtain freedom from the will of another human being that is imposed by force on him. But he may not yet be free to be what he wants to be, as he can still be held back by his own will and addictions.
The Omer counting tells us to not stop our journey upwards and be satisfied with just a partial state of freedom, that of being free from the Pharaohs.
Everybody wants to be good. We all have yearnings for greatness and meaning. Many grope and experiment with how to make that happen.
Some 3,330 years ago the Jewish people succeeded and the entire nation merited a personal encounter on Mount Sinai with the One that created us, the One who designed us and our world for the greatness that we all seek.
The counting of the Omer reminds us to keep growing towards the greatness that each of us were made for and to not be satisfied with substitutes, to not disconnect, to not let others disappoint and distract us, to stop tumbling and pick ourselves up from all the falls we have, to never give up.
It is only then that we can arrive at a state of true inner peace.