Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Emor - 5777
GROWTH THROUGH TORAH
In this week’s Paresha, the Torah lists the Yamim Tovim and the Mitzvot that are associated with the days of celebration.
The Torah notes that Pesach and Shavuot are connected by a count, known to us as the Sefirat Haomer. The count begins on the second day of Pesach. On that day, in the times of the Beit Hamikdash, a barley offering, known as the Omer, was brought. Barley is a grain that usually is used as animal feed. Thus, the offering of the second day of Pesach symbolizes the idea that the Children of Israel, even after leaving Egypt, did not reach their full potential as free humans.
The count ends on the day we bring a meal offering of wheat – a grain that is considered ideal for humans. The wheat offering expresses the idea that with Shavuot and the receiving of the Torah, we are able to bring a Korban, indicating that we have reached the mission of the human with the receiving of the Torah.
The Sefirat Haomer period is one of progress and growth. When as a nation we were granted the gift of freedom, it was not to be used as a passive gift for the receiver, but rather an active one, as a tool for self-development and growth. The only way for a Jew to achieve this mission is by tuning in to the values of the Torah.