The Omer is a microcosm of our life; we need a plan to give us focus during these 49 days, in order to be prepared to take full advantage of the transcendent 50th day. We are given a frame of reference – a deadline – in order to help us focus on the goal. When we wake up it’s not just another day, our weekends are not mundane TGIFs (Thank G-d it’s Friday), rather they represent steps in a cycle: every week is a unit of its own, every seven years is a unit of its own. Living this way helps us structure and plan accordingly. We must ask ourselves what we want to accomplish this week, and what we want to accomplish by the end of this seven-week or seven-year segment period of our lives – refining specific character traits, building or deepening relationships, attaining goals in Torah study. The Torah has given us timetables that need to be filled; it is incumbent upon us to utilize these cycles, and particularly the one we are in middle of – the Omer – to manifest all our actions in testimony of Hashem. And the greatest testimony that exists is the human being himself.
We are a tzelem Elokim, an image of Hashem. When one meets a Gadol – and if you’ve met with one, you will know how true this is – the most striking thing is not his incredible Torah knowledge, fear of Heaven, or even his love and concern for others. Yes, he has all three of these incredible traits; however, the most striking thing about him is the glow of a perfected human being, a complete man. And that’s our job, our goal…and it’s attainable! It’s a lifelong mission which we can succeed at if we count the days. It takes constant work; it’s a daily job.
Each morning when we wake up we must remember that it’s our mission for the day. We say modeh ani for this opportunity each morning. Try it immediately – make a plan and work at it for one week. The week will not be seven days; you will see it becomes a unit. Add one unit to the next – grow and succeed.
About the Author: Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim is Associate Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Passaic Torah Institute, Passaic, NJ.
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