Sefirat Haomer- Part II- Joyful Anticipation

9 05 2011

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Eliezar Miller 

Sefirat Haomer- Part II- Joyful Anticipation

The period of sefirat haomer leading up to Shavuot is an opportune time for self-rectification. The Zohar writes that we must purify our hearts to receive the Torah. In Sifsei Chaim, Rav Friedlander notes that success in Torah is not so much dependent on the ability of the mind, but rather on the heart. We ask Hashem, “Hu yiftach libeinu..” open our hearts to know your Torah. The heart is the seat of man’s desires. Yearning to grow in Torah stems from the heart. Purifying oneself leads to elevated desires.

The Naharei Eish points out that the way a person learns, depends on his heart. A pure heart will draw a person to learn lishma (for the sake of Heaven). He will not be influenced by other people. Rather he will cleave to Hashem and invest all his effort to fulfill His will. The Chazon Ish writes that if a person does not work to eradicate his ingrained evil middot, then even if he has a great mind, he will not grow in learning. This is because sinful traits close the gates of knowledge and understanding. One needs a refined eye and heart to truly understand Torah. The Meor Enayim adds that someone who is very materialistic will view Torah as divided between good and bad. Therefore we must purify ourselves during these weeks of sefira so that materialism will not blind us from seeing the clarity of Torah.

The Gemara writes about one who learns Torah, “Zoche sam hachaim, lo zoche sam hamaves“-If he is meritorious, then Torah is the elixir of life, if he is not meritorious, it becomes the potion of death. Zoche can also be translated as refined. A refined person who learns Torah tastes life, an unrefined person samples death.  The Gra compares Torah to rain. Rain will make both good and bad vegetation grow, depending on what was sown. Similarly, when a person studies Torah, if deep inside of him, he is pure, more good will result. If he is not, crookedness will emerge.

During Sefira, as we prepare to receive our portion in Torah, we ask v’ten chelkeinu-Give us our portion. Shavuot is a day of judgment, when it is determined how much Torah we will receive for the year. If a person works to purify himself before Kabalat Hatorah, he will receive a much greater portion.

Next week we will continue discussing the proper preparation for receiving the Torah.

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