The Commandment of Counting

 

by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Counting the Omer teaches us mindfulness, and opens our hearts to the power of stories.

The commandment to count the omer is one of the more curious prescriptions of the Torah. We are told to count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot even though, of course, the number of days never changes. Therefore, it is very much an effort in which the process is in and of itself a value.

The word for “number” in Hebrew is mispar. Its root is closely related to the word for “story” ― sipur. What is the relationship between the two?

A collection of events becomes a story ― as opposed to a random anthology of events ― when there is a beginning in which the characters are introduced, a middle in which conflict takes place, and an end in which there is resolution.

Our lives flow by so quickly that we frequently lose awareness of the awesome power of our own stories. The metamorphosis of today into tomorrow is subtle enough for us to lose consciousness of beginnings and ends.

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