Keeping Count – The Omer, Remembering And Becoming One – By Marc

Today is Day 14 in our Counting Of The Omer. But what is it?
On the second night of Passover we begin the mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer.
Thus it is a commandment from the Torah that we count seven complete weeks (49 days) and end with the celebration of Shavuot.

Okay, that’s the “what”… but why do we do it?

I love the explanation from Chabad… The counting is like a countdown… the thrill of getting to Shavuot… the day the Jews received the Torah. It gives us a childlike enthusiasm and excitement for what is to come.

This period of time is also “meant to spiritually prepare and refine ourselves.”

“The Jews had sunk to an unprecedented level of spiritual defilement, and were on the brink of destruction. At the last possible moment, the children of Israel were miraculously redeemed. They underwent a spiritual rebirth and quickly ascended to the holiest collective state they had ever reached. They were so holy, in fact, that they were compared to angels when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah.

It was during that 49-day period that they underwent such a radical transformation. From the lowest lows to the highest heights in just seven weeks!”

For me, the biggest take away is this… that each and every one of us can change… can go from a low to a high in a mere 49 days!!! While there are many theories to the exact number of days it takes, this also correlates to the notion of how one breaks an old habit and sets up a new one. I have heard it happens anywhere between six to eight weeks, which puts this “counting” right in there!

Then there is the notion of remembering a different set of numbers. Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day. And while it is imperative to look at, count and truly understand both the whole and the individual parts, we also need to make sure that we… that every Jew… that every human being is standing up and being counted!

I wrote:
“Memory… remembrance… learning from the past… These must be active things!

A flash… old images… photographs and recordings remind us… But they must do more than educate and inform. They must elevate us… They must go beyond the words “never again” and push us to true and positive action and reaction.

Let us create new flashes… new images… new memories… Let us make a new world… a better world.

Stop… pause… honor all we lost on this Holocaust Remembrance Day. The numbers are staggering, but we must understand the humanity… the specifics… the individual people… the lives and loves… the children, the parents and grandparents… the brothers and sisters… friends and neighbors…

Let their memories always be a blessing for those who lost… and let their lives inspire us to never let anything like this happen again. Remember, we will… Act, we must!”

It can no longer be enough to simply remember… we must stand up and take action.

While I have said this time and time again, I know that bringing up politics and even Israel on this blog lays the potential for controversy, but I think two events need to be noted. I will not share with you my lengthy response to the latter… yet… Though you can always contact me directly if you want to see the letter I am crafting in response.

The first is that Saudi Arabia has been voted by the UN to sit on the Women’s Rights Commission. The sheer irony and audacity shows just how far this once noble organization has sunk… yet again. They pretty much reside in the muck.

The second is that Roger Waters and a group of misinformed musicians and artists once again want to boycott Israel… and are trying to make other bands do the same thing.

I am fine for people to have opposing opinions, as long as those opinions are based on facts and truths and not hatred. But being “anti” something is hate… It is not a desire for dialogue or discussion. It is not an objective look at two sides… It is merely a hatred of only one. And when it comes down to it, a hatred of Israel almost always equates to a hatred of Jews.

The reason I bring this up here, in this post, is because it is something we need to track… to be aware of… and to count!
And our response to it… our words… our voices… our actions, also need to be counted.

A look back at history will always show us that it starts with words and speeches… and ends in actions. Therefore never forgetting MUST lead to our own action so that we may prevent history from repeating itself.

So let those words, speeches and actions be ours. Let us count the good… let us count our mitzvahs… let us count on each other. When Jews come together and elevate each other, great things happen. We receive the Torah, we receive blessings and we become one people! You can count on it!

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