Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Emor - 5779
THE COUNT OF GROWTH
In Pareshat Emor, the Torah lists the Holidays and the Mitzvot that are to be performed on these days of celebration. We are told as well that Pesach is linked to Shavuot by counting the days in between, known to us as the Sefirat HaOmer. The count begins on the day we bring to the Beit Hamikdash a barley offering, called the Korban HaOmer. Barley is the most widely cultivated cereal grain used for feeding animals. Symbolically, this offering represents the fact that we see ourselves as incomplete beings despite the experience of the Exodus and Pesach.
The count ends on the day we bring a meal offering of wheat – a grain that is considered fit for humans. The wheat offering symbolizes the idea that with Shavuot and the receiving of the Torah, we reach our full human potential by committing ourselves to the great teachings we heard at Sinai on that day.
Thus, the Sefirat HaOmer period is one of progress. During this phase, we remind ourselves that the revelation that occurred on Pesach was given to a nation that was, overall, undeserving. For us to sustain our link to The Creator, we need a system where we can learn to improve ourselves and be worthy of the relationship. The only way for a Jew to achieve this mission is by being faithful to the Torah.