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May 11, 1990 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-05-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TORAH PORTION

Court Ordered

G ING OUT OF
BUSINESS SALE

Chapter 11 Court Cases #89-08477-G • #89-07428-G
Light's Jewellers has closed the Meadowbrook Village Mall Store and
consolidated inventory into the Birmingham store located at 280 N. Woodward.
The Bankruptcy Court has ordered the entire inventory from both locations
to be sold to pay creditors and to ...

CLOSE THE DOORS FOREVER!

NO REASONABLE

pEN

OFFgA I3gSED
SATURDAY

Light's

FINE

0 SJC

280 N. Woodward

One Block N. of Maple
Birmingham

Daily 10:00 to 5:30
Thursday and
Friday til 9:00

JEWELLERS

All Major Credit Cards and Layaways Accepted

itfr

MOTHER'S DAY
SPECIAL

50% OFF

A
SELECTED
GROUP
OF
SPORTSWEAR
COORDINATES

May 10 - May 12

ie

IN ORCHARD MALL
ORCHARD LAKE ROAD AT MAPLE
PHONE 851-9660

46

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 1990

Sefira As A Jewish
Philosophy Of Life

RABBI MORTON YOLKUT

Special to The Jewish News

I

n this week's sedra, the
Torah enjoins us to count
the 49 days that come be-
tween the second day of
Passover and the festival of
Shavuot. "And you shall
count for yourselves from
the morrow of the day of rest,
from the day you brought the
Omer (sheaf) of waving, seven
complete weeks shall they
be." (Leviticus 23:15)
The seven-week interval
between Passover and
Shavuot, the time designated
for Sefirat HaOmer (counting
of the Omer), is significant in
the Jewish calendar. In post-
biblical times, these weeks
were assocaiated with sad
memories for our people.
Tradition tells of a plague
that destroyed thousands of
Rabbi Akiva's students dur-
ing this period. As a result of
these tragic events, the Omer
season is observed as a period
of semi-mourning. During
this time, traditional Jews do
not celebrate weddings or
other joyous events, except on
certain specific days.
But the essence of Sefira is
the counting of 49 days from
Passover to Shavuot, day by
day, week by week. Every
night the counting is done
with a blessing using the
formula found in every siddur.

What is the message of the
counting of the Omer? The
Sefer Ha-hinukh explains
that Passover is only a begin-
ning. Shavuot is the culmina-
tion. The freedom of Passover
is but a means; the accep-
tance of the Torah on
Shavuot, the undertaking of
a new moral, religious and
ethical regimen, is the goal.
And so on the morrow of our
independence we begin to
count, to strive for ideals with
which to ennoble our freedom
and enrich our liberty. "As
soon as you liberate the peo-
ple from Egypt," God tells
Moses, "bring them to this
mountain to serve the Lord."
(Exodus 3:12)

The physical liberation of
the Exodus was only a
prelude to that which was far
more significant: the spiritual
freedom attained by the
receiving of the Torah on
Shavuot. And thus, we are to
count up, from freedom to
redemption and from liberty
to a commitment to God's law.

Morton Yolkut is rabbi of
Congregation B'nai David.

This explanation of the
mitzvah of Sefira extends also
to the personal level. We
count not only as people but
as individuals. We all count
days in anticipation of a per-
sonal milestone. A senior
counts toward graduation. A
bride and groom count the
days until their wedding. Our
b'nai and b'not mitzvah count
toward their special day in
the synagogue. A couple
counts toward an important
anniversary. However, all of
these are simply beginnings,
turning points from which to
start the real count.
The message of Sefira is
that we need to focus on the
opportunities presented by an
event rather than the mile-
stone it marks. Sefira teaches
us to distinguish between op-
portunities and achieve-
ments. Many people confuse
the two and count only

Shabbat Emor:
Leviticus
21:1-24:23,
Ezekiel 44:15-31.

toward personal milestones
which are but opportunities.
It is from these opportunities
that the Jew first begins to
count toward achievements.
The Torah says of the
patriarch Abraham: "And
Abraham was old, advanced
in age." (Genesis 24:1). The
Hebrew expression used is ba
ba'yamim, literally, he came
with his days. This has been
interpreted to mean that his
days added up to a complete
sum. None were missing,
none misused or wasted. In
his old age, he could reflect on
his life and see that his days
and years were filled with
acts of accomplishment and
achievement for the benefit of
all mankind. Abraham had
mastered the art of counting
days. And those days added
up to a life of great meaning
and achievement.
The lesson of Sefira is
nothing less than a Jewish
philosophy of life. It tells us,
as individuals, as members of
a faith community, that if we
are to count as people, we
must learn how to count in
life. We must ennoble every
opportunity; we must set our
sights higher and higher and
count up from the Exodus to
Sinai, from opportunity to
achievement, from freedom to
redemption. ❑

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