Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Finally Counted All 49 Days of the Omer... So?

Well, for the first time in my frum life (as far as I recall), I counted each of the 49 days of the Omer with a bracha. Most years, I'm usually "out" within the first two weeks. I miss a Maariv in shul, then forget to say it the next day - and that's it. (And when you "lose the bracha", there's a tendency to lose heart/interest and stop counting the Omer altogether, which is the actual Torah mitzvah - the bracha is just a rabbinic mitzvah. Which is its own problem I'm not getting into here...) Anyway, for all the Omer-related drashot people make about "counting" and "being counted", if there's one thing you could pretty much count on, it's me forgetting to count the Omer.

So how'd I do it this time around? A daily alarm on my smartphone. Simple as that.

Now... The point of this post is not (just) to offer myself self-congratulations. It's to talk about the significance I ascribe to finishing the Omer with a bracha... Cosmic significance?... Zero. Mitzvah points?... Doesn't concern me. Hashem loves me for it?... Come on, you know me better than that! So why does it matter one iota whether I complete the Omer, or even count one single day of it for that matter? In the objective sense, IT DOESN'T. I don't believe I accomplished anything for the Jewish people, for the world, or secured any reward for myself. I won no favor with God, pulled no strings in shamayim.

What I did was this: I set a goal for myself, figured out what it would take for me to reach that goal, implemented a solution - and I was successful. It was 100% a personal exercise. That's all.

I'm one of these people who admittedly has trouble committing myself to doing something day-in-and-day-out for any considerable stretch of time. Inevitably something comes up - either I forget, or I get distracted, or I'm not feeling well, or I'm just plain lazy - any number of reasons/excuses which come up in life. So to set my mind to it and actually do this for 49 days straight IS an accomplishment for me. And it also has the effect of "mitzvah goreret mitzvah" - where one mitzvah "drags" another one along with it. Meaning, when you do something right, you "build muscles" which make it easier to do the next time. If I'm consistent with something like counting the Omer, it builds the confidence and experience that can make it easier for me to be consistent in a different context... and maybe, hopefully, with something that really and truly "counts".

A good Chag Shavuot to all!


  1. That was a great drasha! (Not very frum, but great nonetheless...)