Sefiras HaOmer: Counting Up... Not Down

It's amazing how kids pick things up.

One of my favorite mitzvos is getting rid of chametz.  To be more specific, "to get rid of" all the chametz being "eating everything that we collected on Purim".  It's not a matter of "favorite" I guess, more like a matter of survival during that stressful time.  Of course, this leads to something called "weight gain."  On Pesach, I "vowed" to go on some sort of diet to lose some of that weight. The main problem is the wife who believes in losing weight in a healthy manner, not in a manner that actually WORKS (like starving yourself).  Women…

Anyhow, this morning my six-year-old was walking around, rubbing his non-existent stomach, saying, "I'm soooo fat … I have a baby inside."  Hopefully, he will not do that in his pre-school.

Yeah, I've got to be careful about what I say…

There is a very famous question regarding Sefiras HaOmer that we count from Pesach until Shavous.  We always count upwards, this is Day One, this is Day Two.  If anything, we should be counting downwards, 49 more days, 48 more days, etc.  I've heard many explanations for this over the years, and I saw an explanation by Rav Shimshon Pincus that I liked the most.

He asks a similar question regarding Yaakov and Rochel.  Yaakov agreed to work for Lavan for seven years in order to marry Rochel.  And the Torah testifies that because of his love for her, the seven years went quickly.  This is a bit strange, since if anything, human nature would dictate that it would be the opposite and that it would feel like a lifetime.

He answers by comparing this to two people.  Both were told on the same day that they won one million dollars.  Person A was told that he would receive the full amount in 100 days.  Person B was told that starting today, he would receive ten thousand dollars every day for 100 days.

Person A would undoubtably be counting DOWN.  The 100 days is simply a barrier of time that is in between himself and being a millionaire.  He wants them out of the way as soon as possible so he can get his money.  Therefore, he will count down and that countdown will feel very long.

Person B would be counting UP.  Each day, he is accumulating more and more money.  "Today I have $10,000." "Today I have $20,000."  Each day is new and exciting.  In fact, in the end, the time will seem "too short" and he would be more than happy to have more!

Hence, we have two ways of looking at Sefiras HaOmer.  The first way is viewing this time as simply that: time.  We want to move on to Shavous and whatever is in between is simply a waste of time.

The correct manner is the second way.  Each day is an opportunity for growth in Torah and mitzvos that we do not have during the year.  Each day is worth 10,000 Spiritual Dollars.  If we understood this and did something meaningful for this time, we would appreciate more and more each and every day of Sefira.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!