Rabbi Ze’ev Gruzd
Edenvale Jewish Community
And you shall count for yourselves… (Leviticus 23:15)
וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם... (ויקרא כג:טו)
The Telzer Rosh Hayeshiva – Rabbi Mordecai Gifter zt”l says that amongst the reasons for Sefiras Ha’Omer – the counting of the Omer, is the love of the Torah, as the Sefer HaChinuch writes1: the Acceptance of the Torah was the goal of the redemption (from Egypt) – and serves as the very essence and foundation of the Jewish people – and through it, we achieved our greatness.
We were commanded to count from the second night of Pesach2 until the day that the Torah was given. We count constantly – “when will the day come” – because our counting shows that it is our desire and longing to reach that time.
The mitzvah of Sefirah – counting the Omer – suggests an interesting direction in actualising... in making real, our doing of the mitzvah. A moment before we conduct the daily counting, we stop and say hineni muchan u’mezuman – Behold I am ready and prepared to fulfil the mitzvah of counting the Omer.
This only takes a few seconds to recite, but it makes us focus. We ready ourselves. We quiet down. We invite ourselves to partake of this moment. We are simply present – completely. By doing this, we are more cognisant of the mitzvah and the love for what we are doing.
We can use this method in other areas of our lives – in the time spent with our spouses, in the stories we tell our children, and with our own selves. Behold I am ready and prepared. I am here, completely here.
And indeed, as we live through the Festival of Shavuos, as we accept the Torah – let us be aware, completely aware, of our love for the Torah, and in turn, Hashem’s love for us!
Sefer HaChinuch 306
Leviticus 23:15; Talmud, Menachot 65b-66a