Emor – The Thrill of Counting Up

For Food for Thought in Spanish: Haga clic aquí para leer en español. Please share this with your Jewish Spanish speaking family, friends, and associates.

We are living in the times of the Omer, counting up to Shavuos, Kabalas HaTorah. The day we as a nation, a people, received Hashem’s precious gift of the Torah.
This week’s Torah portion of Emor discusses all the Yom Tovim throughout the year. In regard to the Omer and Shavuos the Torah says, “And you shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day from the day you bring the omer as a wave  offering seven weeks; they shall be complete” (Vayikra 23:15).
The Bechor Shor comments on this pasuk, “’You shall count 50 days’ for the honor of the Torah, Hashem commanded to count. It similar to a parable about a person who was locked up in jail. One of the king’s servants sent him a message that on such and such a day the king will release him and give him his daughter, the princess in marriage. The guy was skeptical. After the king released him, the guy said to himself, ‘If he fulfilled his word to release me, the king will for sure fulfill giving me his daughter.’ He started counting each day until day 50 and the king gave him his daughter. So to when Hashem spoke to Moshe saying ‘go and take My nation, the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and He said when you will take the nation from Egypt you will serve me on this mountain, and give them the Torah.’ And Moshe told the Jews what he was told and they did not listen to Moshe because of the hard work they had. They said, ‘We don’t believe we will be taken out of the servitude of Egypt even if He gives us the Torah.’ Then when the Jews were taken out, they started to count when He will give them the Torah. And He then gives it to Bnei Yisroel at the end of 50 days from leaving [Egypt]. Hashem then commanded that they should count every year to make dear and increase the love of the Torah upon them, that He gave them a precious tool which He created the world with. This is what [the B’chor Shor says] I heard from my father zt”l.” (Click here for Hebrew text.)

Why does Hashem command us to count the omer to increase our love for the Torah; how does that help? The omer is a mitzvah for everyone. If a person is learning Torah in yeshiva and is getting into his learning and enjoying his learning every day, or even if he is not in yeshiva but he sets aside time to learn and looks forward to that learning every day, what does counting the omer add? Furthermore, if we know it is a gift from Hashem and it is super powerful because it’s what Hashem Himself used to create the world, isn’t that knowledge enough to excite us and make us feel a tremendous love for the Torah?

 It would seem that an annual “count down,” or really count up, is a way to further enhance one’s love and endearment. Every added ounce of love for the Torah gets one closer to Hashem, the amount of potential love is infinite. Therefore, if one understands and has the proper mindset then the Omer can be a thrilling time that will enhance one’s love for Torah more than what one has presently.