Day Eighteen of the Omer
While waiting for an expected event, we sometimes would like time to fly faster, to disappear, to stop separating us from the day and hour we are so impatiently waiting for.
When counting the Omer, we do the opposite. Time is not just a barrier separating us from the next festival – Shavuot – when our ancestors received Torah on Mount Sinai. Rather, counting the Omer shows how time is precious. Each night, when we say the blessing for counting one more day, we think: what have we learned today? What have we done? What experience have we gained, to arrive fully prepared at Shavuot? To what extent are we wiser than yesterday… or not? Is not time going too fast – so fast that we shall not miss any second from it, as it will never come back again?
When we read, each Shabbat of the Omer period, one of the six chapters of the Mishna Pirqey Avot, we become even more conscious that what is essential is not the destination, but the travel towards it (which will surely not be as straightforward as we might expect). Indeed, Pirqey Avot, especially in its first chapter, underlines the chain of transmission of Torah from Moses to the rabbis of the Mishna, also mentioning the new teachings in each generation. It shows that, as time passes, Torah is transmitted and enriched by new insights which become apparent at a specific moment in history – even if we assume that the whole Torah had been revealed at Mount Sinai, then its teachings are rediscovered throughout the passing of time.
Thus, while counting the Omer, we are prompted to learn from every moment we live and to be fully present to our own life… so that we get as prepared as we can to stand again at Mount Sinai.
Rabbi Josué Ferreira CJLM Montpellier France