Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Counting Sefira

Sefira is the time between Pesach and Shavuos-the time we count up towards kaballas haTorah. What is the reason that we count this way? The Jews are a nation who always work upwards. Ma'alin Bakodesh v'Einam moridim-we go up in kedusha and don't go down. (It's the same way on Chanukah, we light the menorah going upwards. One candle on the first day, two on the second and so on.) When a person is excited for something, for example, for a birthday or a big trip, they make a countdown.

I remember making a countdown for my wedding and giving it to my chosson-each day, he'd pull of the page 25...24...23...22...21...20...The reason why we were counting
down is because these twenty-something days (from when I made the countdown) were standing between us and the wedding. Each time a page was pulled off, it was an excitement! There is less time standing between us and the big day!

However, when it comes to the day we will accept the Torah, the days between Pesach and Shavuos are not just days we want to pass by as quickly as possible. Each day is supposed to be a day of accomplishment. Each day is precious and meant to be used to it's fullest.

I will explain this with a
mashal from R' Shimshon Pincus zt"l. Imagine someone were to tell you that in one month, he was going to give you 3 million dollars. Three million dollars! Imagine that!! The 30 days you have to wait to get the money are now standing between you and your 3 million. They are holding you back from becoming a millionaire. So you want each day to pass as quickly as possible! However, if he were to tell you that each day he would give you 100,000 and by the end of the month, you would have received 3 million dollars, then each day is precious! Each day you are gaining the money that will help you become a millionaire! Now, you view each day as important in helping you achieve your goal.

It is the same thing with Sefira. We are counting towards Matan Torah-towards the day we are going to get the greatest treasure in the world! Each day, we are getting more than a million dollars in spirituality. We are getting treasures and treasures of diamonds! This is why we count up-today is day 1, 2, 3, 4...and so forth.
We are counting because we are so excited to get to this day-the day of Matan Torah! But it's not like we are waiting for the time from now until then to pass, we are using the days we have until then to reach greater heights in our avodas Hashem, by working on ourselves and becoming closer to Him to prepare for the big day!

During the time of the
bais hamikdosh, when korbanos were brought, there was a difference between the korbanos brought on Pesach and Shavuos. On Pesach, the Korban Omer was brought. It was made out of barley which is food for animals. The korban brought on Shavuos, the Korban Shtei Halechem was made of wheat, which is food that is normally eaten by human beings. This comes to show us that the time between Pesach and Shavuos is a time of tremendous growth and change. It is a time that we elevate ourselves from the level of animals to the level of human beings-people! Because without the Torah, we are like animals who have desires and wants and act upon them. But once we were given the Torah, we learned that all our actions can be elevated to a higher level and then we are like people!

Sefira is a special time to work on your
middos. It is a time to perfect ourselves and work on improving the way we relate to one another. There are so many areas in which we can improve. Show Hashem that you are preparing yourself to accept the greatest gift ever-the Torah!


  1. i love how you put that all together! thanx so much!your awesome! are you by any chance a teacher as well? i just love always going on this blog whenever i go on the computer-the 2 of you really do such an awesome job!
    is it possible if you can just tell us a bit about how we are suppost2 grow everyday? and how every day should be speshial? what are we all suppost2 take apon our selves? should every day be something els?
    thanx a million again!

  2. (similar to what liat wrote)- how is every day special? (i dont rly understand that concept) also, can you explain what was the big deal that Rebbe Akivas talmidim didnt give kavod to eachother? how was that the reason that 24,000 perished??
    Is there something specific we should work on, or in general what we struggle with?

  3. Anon- it's not just that we're mourning 24,000 individual deaths because Tisha B'Av is reserved for mourning the tragedies that stem from the fact that we are in Galus. During the 33 days of Sefira, we're mourning the Torah that died with those Talmidai Chachamim. R' Akiva had the Chachma to teach Torah SheBeal Peh from the Rimazim in Torah She'Bichtav, which even Moshe could not really do (which is why Hashem showed him R' Akiva learning from the crowns of the letters and Moshe said "well then the Torah should have been given to him.") But when his talmidim died, all the Torah that R' Akiva taught in his life, died too. It's not like they had written it down so R' Akiva then had to start AGAIN from scratch and teach it all over to a new set of Talmidim. And then, from that set of Talmidim, the star pupil R' Shimon Bar Yochai, from whom we learn all that we know of Kabala, all that we know is because he lived adn wrote the ZOhar- he dies on that day that the original students had stopped dying. But his Torah didn't die with him and he told his students to take that day and make it a day of celebration, make bonfires because he brought the light of the Zohar and all his Torah into our lives.
    I think from the whole story, something to take out of it is to treasure the Torah we do have and make sure it lives on and continues by learning it ourselves. And through learning Torah, you learn middot as well. Sefira is a time period where you can take anything to work on. The point is just to be at the point by Shavuot where you can really say to Hashem, "Look, I'm being Mikabel your Torah, I've fixed myself to be properly prepared to receive more Torah."

  4. I just heard from R. Yaakov Salamon's video blog on Aish that the reason why we also count up and not down is b/c many of us (definitely me included) are procrastinators. and, therefore, when we hear that we have 4 weeks lefts to matan torah- we think to ourselves that we have plently of time left. we might thingk "oh we have a 2 weeks left to grow- we still have time to change later"....etc. However, by counting up, it helps us realize that almost 4 weeks have past already!!! have we chnaged already????!!! As this post states, every second of sefirah has an ability to change us, more than otehr times during the year! coutning up facilitates the question to ask of ourself "Have we utilized this incredible time?"

    I am new to this site and read quite a few of your blogs and I just wanted to tell you, devoiry and chaya sara taht i think it's incredible that you take so much time from your busy schedule (I see that some of these posts ar written even at like 2 am!!)to write things just to inspire ppl. you also have a great talent to explain things clearly and down to earth that can actually be utilized. you should continue to have the strength to do so:) i definitely want to keeep comming back to this site. i actually just put it into my "favorites" thank you ;)


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