The New Shul

Parshat Emor

In this week’s parashah, Emor, we read about the mitzvah of counting the omer. Beginning on the second night of Pesah, we count off each day for a total of seven weeks, until we reach Shavuot, the day on which we received the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Counting the omer has a way of making us intensely conscious of time passing, and of the preciousness of each day. Perhaps that is the point of the mitzvah. In Psalm 90, we ask God to “teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” There is no greater wisdom than the recognition that our time is limited, that each passing day is irreplaceable. That recognition opens our hearts and sensitizes us to our obligations in this world. It attunes our ears to hear God’s call. In that way, counting our days truly brings us closer to Mount Sinai.