Parshas Emor

download.jpgShe wanted to know what all the numbers were. The car that I drive has a digital dashboard. The car’s speed, the trip meter, are all digitalized. It even has a section of the screen that posts how many miles are left to drive until you have to fill up on gas again.

So my little girl wanted to know what all these numbers were.  So I started to explain to her, this is the speed of the car. and this here, is the trip-meter telling me the next time I need to get an oil change. She being the wonderful student that she is, was lapping it all up. (In fact, the next time we were traveling in the car, I suddenly hear a voice from the back seat, daddy, you are driving 71 miles per hour… oops).

This had me start wondering about all the different things that are being counted, just on a simple trip in the car. Some things are counted down, some things are counted up, but lots of different things are being counted. This is because when you have something of significance you want to keep track of where it’s holding.

This reminds me of what we read about in this week’s Torah portion of Emor. In 23:15 we are told to count seven weeks - fifty days from Pesach - Passover until Shovu’os. The Torah presents an agricultural angle to it as Pesach was the time that the barley crop ripened and Shovu’os was the time of the wheat crop. At each time, there was a special portion of the new crop offered up in the temple in gratitude to Hashem.

Like all aspects of the Torah there are many layers. The Talmud points out that Pesach commemorates the exodus from Egypt and Shovu’os corresponds to the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. So the counting of the forty nine days, was also counting down the days from the exodus until the receiving of the Torah. This is to express the excitement and importants of the Torah as it is something that is eagerly awaited and counted down towards.

But why seven weeks?

The Kabbalah shares insight here. Seven is the number of nature. Seven days of the week, seven colors of the rainbow, seven scales of music etc. so too when it comes to our human nature, it is comprised of seven. These are known as the seven midos – measures, the seven emotions and instincts that comprise human nature.

During the seven weeks between Pesach and Shovu’os (of which we are now in week five) we focus each week on counting and reflecting on a different aspect of our personality and character, noticing the aspects that should be reinforced and the other parts of our persona that we should let go of. That way when the time of the receiving of the Torah comes around – Shovu’os, we are appropriately prepared to receive the divine wisdom of the Torah.

(For those who are interested, each day I post on my facebook page called “Kabbalah Psychology” a relevant character trait to focus on for each of the forty nine days. For those who are not on facebook, I send out a daily email as well, just email me and I will add you to the list).

Let us count the Omer, let us count our days; each day counts because we ourselves count.

For more info on the mitzvah of counting the Omer and for step by step instructions see here. It’s so easy, you won’t even need an accountant!

Happy counting and Shabbat Shalom