Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Shemini - 5778
A SEASON FOR GROWTH
For the Jewish people, the freedom of Pesach ought not stand alone, but rather must be linked to the acceptance of the yoke of Torah. Consequently, at the beginning of the second day of Pesach, we started the Sefirat HaOmer count, a journey that continues until we reach the day of Shavuot, the day we merited the revelation at Sinai.
Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, commonly known as Ramban, notes that the days that connect Pesach to Shavuot are like the "intermediate days" or Chol Hamoed, that connect the beginning and the end of a holiday, since our exodus from Mitzraim was only for the sake of the experience at Sinai.
Unfortunately, the Sefirah season turned into a time of mourning, due to the calamity that befell the people of Israel with the passing of 24,000 disciples of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud teaches that they died in the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot. The rabbis note that this tragedy occurred because they did not treat one another with proper respect.
What we are being told by the sages is that spiritual growth without sensitivity to others is an empty shell.
A true Torah life is one that values tradition without contempt for others.
May we all merit to grow in the true path of Torah.