29 Iyar 5781 / Tuesday, May 11, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bamidbar
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Counting - It's a Part of Life!    

Counting - It's a Part of Life!

In life we have to count. When we want something, we wait and count, we set goals and count. Counting is a part of life.


In life, one has to count. But if you read what Rabbi Natan of Breslev writes about what needs to be counted, you will understand that it is not money or anything else that occupies our minds (and often our fingers as well). To count, as Rabbi Natan says, is to count days. 


Which days? The days of your life. 


And how do you do that?  


The days are the days of counting the Omer, and these are huge and very important days. Do not simply count them. If we look at the commandment to count the Omer as we were commanded to do in the first days when we became a nation, we will find a very deep meaning. When the children of Israel left Egypt, it was not just an exit and redemption from slavery to freedom without a purpose, G-d forbid. They went out to receive the Torah and to worship the Creator of the worldG-d said to Moshe  Rabbeinu when He revealed Himself to him in the burning bush, "And He said,  'And  I will bring out the people from Egypt to serve G-d on this mountain. (Shemot 3) And then, Because the children of Israel are Mine, they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am Hashem, Your G-d.(Yayikra 25) The Sages have said, “The children of Israel are slaves to Me, and they aren’t slaves to others.” Meaning, the exodus from Egyptian slavery was for one purpose - that we should serve the Creator, that we should be His slaves and not of slaves of human beings. 


Since the whole purpose of the Exodus was to receive the Torah, they were supposed to receive the Torah as soon as they left Egypt and crossed the Yam Suf (Sea of Reeds). So, they came out completely free from bitter slavery, right? Why did they have to wait another 49 days to count the Omer and only then, on the sixth of Sivan - the holiday of Shavuot, to receive the Torah? 


Note that this is a very crucial point! To receive the Torah, one must make great preparation, and preparation takes time. During this time, a person builds  “vessels”  to  receive the Torah - vessels such as study, prayer, longing and yearning, good desires,  and good deeds. During this time, there are also transitions and tests that he must deal with and through them, he is purified. These actions are called  the  main  structure" for the whole Torah and for life in general. Everything a person wants to achieve, every level of holiness he wants to gain, every character trait he wants to correct, all of it  has  its  foundation in counting the Omer - the preparation done by waiting and building the  vessels to get what we long for. 


All of life is counting the Omer, not just before receiving the Torah! Every person has goals in life, aspirations, and everything he wants to achieve. He needs to know that in order to achieve it he has to go through many things in life. It is a well-known rule that the bigger and more important the goal is, the more you need to wait and build vessels that can receive it. And the main thing in building vessels is by  increasing  prayers,  waiting  patiently, experiencing ups and downs, and so on. How do you deal with all this? With the days of counting the Omer! They guide us how to behave from the moment of preparation to the moment of achieving what we desired. They educate us and instill in us the important element called waiting. And this is not simple waiting – during the days while  waiting, there is wonderful work! Yes, even if  you’re  "just"  waiting and waiting, praying,  and longing for the thing you want. Because everything in life has its Omer count. 


If you do not wait patiently with prayers, if you do not count the days - it is impossible to receive what you desired with blessing. To get something without preparing ourselves  and without building vessels is impossible. Even if a person receives what he wants, there is great danger that pride of “by my power and might will overcome him. In addition, he gets something without effort and without working for it, which will lead him to not appreciate what he gets. Such a person does not have the ability to deal with the consequences of achieving anything without investing and working on it. Only during a period of waiting in which a person settles his mind, prays, examines his deeds and what needs to be corrected, prepares the vessels – this entitles the person to everything he desired with great blessing. 


The count, in itself, is a source of tremendous self-strengthening. Every day that a person goes through on the way to achieving his goal, every such day that he counts and considers his goal, it gives him life. He feels it and senses it. Every day he knows that step by step he is getting closer to his goal. Every action he takes in that direction entitles him to build larger vessels. The vitality from such work, by the counting itself, causes a person to utilize the days of his life for the best and to their maximum - with more meaning, depth,  insight,