Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spirit of the Law: Sefiras Haomer 10

10) “The custom is that men and women refrain from melachah-labor during the nights of sefira from sunset until they count the omer.” (According to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, this refers to skilled labor that would distract them. However, it is permitted to turn on a light or do something that is not distracting.)

One reason for refraining from labor is so that one will not forget to count. One of the things we focus on in the count is the fact that everything we do counts and that we should make every single instant of each day count by utilizing it to the hilt.[1] As the verse says: "למנות ימינו כן הודע ונביא לבב חכמה"—“Teach us to count our days, and we will bring forth a heart of wisdom.” (Tehillim 90) We must not allow ourselves to get distracted and instead take some time to focus on what the counting represents and that our avodah during this time affects the entire year.[2]

It is important to conclude with the words of the Maggid of Kozhnitz, zt”l. The verse states: “For seven weeks we will count, until m’macharas ha'Shabbos hashevi’is (the day after the completion of the seventh week) we will count fifty days.” The Maggid said that "until mi'macharas" teaches that even if we haven’t merited to do teshuvah and count with proper focus during the entire sefira, we can still rectify the counting even the very last day.

The same holds true if we catch ourselves at any point and re-commit to proper fulfillment of the mitzvah. Even if we only manage to do so on the very last day (m’macharas ha'Shabbos), it is still as though we had counted all fifty days in the very best way how much.

Rebbe Nachman said: “If you believe you can destroy, believe you can repair!”

[1] Likutei Halachos, Hilchos Pikadon 4:5

[2] Rashash in Nahar Shalom

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