Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spirit of the Law: Sefiras Haomer I

Kitzur Chapter 120:1) “On the second evening of Pesach we start to count the Omer…”

Rav Nosson, zt”l, explains that we count the Omer to internalize that everything that we do counts. Our days are numbered, and every little motion makes a tremendous difference. We add the days cumulatively because each good point combines with all the rest. Everything that we do in this world builds our place in the next. The good that we do builds our place in Gan Eden. The bad characteristics that we are not actively trying to change (at least by praying about them and feeling humility because of our failings) unfortunately builds our place in Gehinnom. Obviously, teshuvah wipes one’s slate clean of the negative. Thankfully, one can never wipe one’s slate clean of the good he has done.[i]

The halacha is that although one may hear the blessing from his friend, one must count for himself and not allow his friend to count for him. This teaches us not to be discouraged if we feels as though others are doing better spiritually then we are. Every individual must count for himself since we are all individual worlds and cannot be compared to anyone else. Of course, we should not feel superior to anyone else merely because we seem to be more successful than they are. On the contrary! Rav Wolbe, zt”l, would say, “If I have more potential than my friend, I have to work and toil to utilize my potential. If I see someone with mediocre capabilities, I should respect him since he may be utilizing his potential to the hilt!” As Rav Yisrael Salanter, zt”l, taught, “If I have the head of one thousand people, I must do the avodah, the spiritual work, of one thousand people!”

[i] Likutei Halachos, Pesach, 9, Mekor Chaim, 489

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