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  • Yehuda Pevzner

Counting More than Time

On Passover, G-d took the Jews out of Egypt, but He did not take Egypt out of the Jews. He liberated our people from slavery but did not change their slave mentality. He left the task of refining their individual natures and cultivating their spiritual personalities to the people themselves.

This pattern is not merely a story of the past. Every year on Passover, G-d takes us out of Egypt, allowing us to experience spiritual liberation. But after Passover, He asks us to internalize that experience and make our spiritual heights part of our personal framework. He entrusts us with the responsibility for this endeavor.

We cannot expect spiritual growth and heightened consciousness to happen automatically or to be consistently granted to us from Above. Instead, Judaism has always stressed personal initiative. It is we who will change ourselves.

This endeavor is a lifelong task for each of us, 365 days a year for every year of our lives. Nevertheless, a period of time is set aside every year when these efforts become the focus of our attention.

This reflects the spiritual significance of Sefirat HaOmer, the 49-day period between the holidays of Passover and Shavuos. It is a Mitzvah to "count" each of these days. For more information on this Mitzvah, please visit

The Hebrew word Sefirah means “counting.”

Every night, we count one of these 49 days. But Sefirah also means “shining.” During these 49 days, we should endeavor to make our personalities shine.

According to the Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition, we have seven fundamental emotional qualities. These qualities then interrelate, combining each one with another to form the full range of human feeling. Seven times seven equals 49, the number of days mentioned above. This is not coincidental, for cultivating our spiritual personalities during these 49 days involves refining our emotions, eliminating their coarseness, and directing them to G-dliness.

As we work to upgrade our emotional potential, we prepare to relive the experience of the Torah being given on the holiday of Shavuot.

Moshiach Now!

Light the Shabbat candles at 7:37 PM (in NYC) this week.

Shabbat Shalom!


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