Torah Tidbits

One Day at a Time!      

Shabbat Parashat Emor

May 21, 2016 – 12 Iyyar 5776   

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I hope you will join us this Friday night and Shabbat morning as we celebrate the bat mitzvah of Margo Lamson.  Mazal Tov to Margo and to her entire family!

Our weekly Torah portion, Emor, references the mitzvah of counting the Omer.  Each evening, beginning on the second night of Passover and continuing all the way to the festival of Shavuot, for a period of seven weeks, we count the days – one day at a time.  And, we recite a blessing as we count our days, each evening.  This is the meaning of the counting of the Omer.

Why are we counting these days?  Why from the second night of Passover?  Why only until the festival of Shavuot?

Think of it this way:  As we prepare for Passover, we rid our homes of chametz [leaven].  To some, chametz represents overly inflated ego and all that is extraneous in our lives.  Done mindfully, the physical process of clearing away the chametz from our homes enables us to clear a spiritual path to renewal in our lives.  Then, at the first Seder, we are able to remember with greater clarity who we are and what the Exodus, our foundational story, means to us today.

The following night, we begin to count the Omer each day all the way to Shavuot, the pilgrim festival that represents our communal experience of receiving Torah on Mount Sinai.  And, as we count, we continue to clear our minds and our hearts of spiritual chametz.   We prepare to take the Exodus story to a new level.  We remind ourselves that Torah, when placed  at the center of our consciousness, has the potential to be a most powerful, relevant, and inspirational guiding force in our lives.

That is the secret of counting each day, as we anticipate celebrating Shavuot, just seven weeks after Passover.

To me, this year in particular, the counting of the Omer has taken on an additional, very concrete, layer of meaning.

I have been counting the days since Passover, with a blessing, one day at a time, and realizing as I count each day, that our Rodef Sholom Temple move is slowly but surely becoming a reality in the very near future!  In fact, by counting the Omer, I know exactly how many days are left until our RST move because…we are moving the day after Shavuot!

We have most certainly been clearing out our building in preparation for the move.  We have been ridding ourselves of the extraneous,.  We have been donating what might be useful to others.  It is my hope and prayer that as we progress toward our move, we remember who we are, what our foundational story means to us, and how we might best place Torah at the center of our personal and congregational and communal lives going forward!

One day at a time!  Enjoy counting each day and making each day count!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror