Sefirat Haomer Part I: The Special Event of Kabbalat Hatorah

20 04 2012
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rabbi Eliezer Miller

The days of sefirat haomer are days of spiritual preparation for the holiday of Shavuot.

The Netivot Shalom notes that the order of the moadim: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, are a way for a person to come closer to Hashem. It starts with Pesach and peaks at Shemini Atzeret. Pesach and the period of sefirah represent the engagement of a couple. In Mitzrayim, Hashem chose klal Yisrael as a nation. Shavuot corresponds to the wedding. The Torah represents the ring and through that gift we became mekudeshet (sanctified) to Hashem.

Shir Hashirim says, “Heviani hamelech chadarav.” (The king has brought me to his chamber). On Sukkot, Hashem brings us into his home, the sukkah. Sukkah is the numerical value of ninety one, which equals the two names of Hashemyud keh and adnut. On Shemini Atzeret there’s a yichud ila’a, a higher union between Hashem and klal Yisrael.

The Rashash writes, “The days of sefirat haomer are the root of the whole year.” The way a person prepares himself for the spiritual marriage with Hashem that is the way his connection with Hashem will be during the year. This is why it’s so important to prepare ourselves properly. Depending on how much a person solidifies his connection with Hashem and desires to be close to Him, that is how much light he will be able to receive on Shavuot.

Although the holidays repeat themselves, a new aspect of Hashem is revealed every year. There’s something unique in each yom tov that will never be again. This should give us strength to start anew.

When dough starts rising and one isn’t ready to bake it, one gives it a smack and knocks it down. Every year the yetzer hara rises higher and when Pesach comes Hashem knocks it down and gives us protection. On Pesach we turn ourselves away from the domination of the yetzer hara and start setting our minds towards Hashem. The work of sefirat haomer is to begin connecting to Hashem, to sanctify ourselves, to correct our souls, and to refine our spiritual nature.

The Chiddushe Harim notes that the days of sefirah are an auspicious time for spiritual growth because during this period our ancestors were redeemed and we were elevated from lowly slaves to the level of receiving the Torah.

The Sefer Torat Chaim comments on the word of the verse, “Usefartem lachem.Lachem is rashei tevot, Kdai l’tahreinu miklipasenu.” The essence of sefirah is to purify ourselves. The Ohr Hachaim says that Usefartem comes from the same root as sapir v’yahalom, a sapphire stone. Through the counting, one polishes oneself like a sapphire stone. Every year klal Yisrael go through the forty nine days when Hashem weakens the power of the evil inclination so we become worthy to receive the Torah.

The Shem Mishmuel says that even if a person doesn’t feel any purpose in counting at all he has to believe that his soul is being purified. This gives a person strength to start anew.

Sefirah is a time to work on kedusha (sanctity) and tahara (purity). Every person has their portion in Torah and if a person doesn’t purify himself he cannot receive his portion.

Rav Pinchos Koritzer notes that the or haganuz , the hidden light that Hashem created at the beginning of time, is hidden in the thirty six tractates of Shas. Baal Haturim says et ha’or has the numerical value of 613. Every mitzvah a person does reveals another aspect of this hidden divine light.

May the Torah and mitzvot engendered through our inner work during sefirah bring us to new levels of sanctity in serving Hashem. May we merit to receive our full portion in Torah.

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