Counting the Omer

For me, counting the Omer- the days between the festivals of Pesach and Shovuos- is more than ‘just’ a mitzvah (though, of course, there is no ‘just’ involved when it comes to mitzvos). It’s a kind of self-improvement process, and a chance to reflect, which I don’t really find in other routines throughout the year.

During the days of the Omer, we prepare ourselves to receive the Torah at Sinai. Just as we say ‘G-d took us out of Mitzroyim’ rather than ‘He took our ancestors out of Mitzroyim’, we receive the Torah anew each year. And so, in the days between these two events, we’re supposed to ready ourselves for this amazing gift and count each day in anticipation.

As I count each day, I find myself thinking of ways I can better myself. As time ticks on, I reflect on days past and try to focus on the future. At the end of each day, as I count the Omer again, I think about what I’ve achieved that day and how I could have done better. It’s a verbal reminder of my strengths and shortcomings.

But at the end of the day- or, rather, at the end of the days of the Omer, I still receive the gift of Torah. Even if I did the wrong thing- did the wrong thing many times, perhaps- G-d still loves me and bestows the most amazing gift upon me. It’s a powerful reminder, and it makes me long to please Him and show him I am worthy of His boundless love. Truly, it’s the greatest self-improvement tool I’ve encountered.

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