03 May 2018

Sefirat haOmer – STEP BY STEP! - R' Ephraim Sprecher

18 Iyyar 5778
La"G la'Omer

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher

As R' Sprecher writes, the Sapphire is related to the word sefirah. Source

Jonny Maestro and the Crests had a hit song in the late 50’s called STEP BY STEP. Were they singing about Sefirat HaOmer? Counting the Omer is all about a process, a gradual STEP BY STEP spiritual development. The Zohar in Parshat Yitro states, when we were in Egypt we defiled ourselves with all kinds of impurities, until we were mired under forty nine levels of impurity. Still, G-d rescued us from all those impure powers and delivered us to the corresponding forty nine gates of wisdom and Kedusha.

This was above and beyond what G-d promised to Avraham, which was simply to take us out of the physical bondage of Egypt. For this reason the Torah mentions the Exodus from Egypt 50 times, to demonstrate to us God’s loving kindness, by extricating us from the 49 levels of impurity and bringing us to the 50 levels of Kedusha. This is why we begin to count the days and weeks between Pesach and Shavuot.

Since the awesome event of the Exodus, 3,330 years ago, we commemorate that seven week journey, one day at a time, or Day by Day. Sefirat HaOmer teaches us that no challenge or obstacle is so great that it can’t be overcome, IF it is only broken down into manageable pieces. There was no way that Israel, just liberated from physical and spiritual slavery, could immediately achieve the level needed to accept the Holy Torah from the “Mouth” of G-d Himself. But the secret is, gradual STEP BY STEP spiritual growth, the achievements of each day become a resource for the spiritual challenges of the next day.

What I achieve today, gives me the spiritual capacity to do even more tomorrow. When Shlomo HaMelech dedicated the Beit HaMikdash, he prayed “that G-d would judge His people DEVAR YOM B’YOMO – to judge us, but each day, DAY BY DAY.” (Kings 1, ch 8) The message of Sefirat HaOmer is that living and progressing one day at a time, is a year-round success formula for facing and confronting the difficult challenges of life, and achieving spiritual growth. The motto is, today, is the first day of the rest of your life!

Sefirat HaOmer teaches us to make time count. We count each and every day, to make each and every day count. The word SEFIRA – to count, is also related to the word SAPIR – Sapphire. The lesson is that each day should be cherished, treasured, and unwrapped like a precious sapphire jewel!


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