Parashas Emor – Sefiras HaOmer

In regard to Sefiras HaOmer, there is a classic question: Why do we count up to Shavuos rather than counting down to Shavuos? The Maggid answers this question in the following way.
Righteous people and wicked people relate in opposite ways to the days of their lives. A righteous person treasures the days he has already lived, taking satisfaction in the mitzvos and good deeds he has accumulated over the course of these days. But a wicked person, whose sole focus is on worldly pleasures, treasures only the days of life he has remaining. The days he has already lived are of no significance, for he has nothing left from them. The pleasures he indulged in the past have come and gone, and afford him no further benefit.
The Maggid sharpens the point with an analogy to two beggars. One beggar spends his money as soon as he collects it, so he never has more than what he collected on his last outing. The other beggar, by contrast, saves up the money he collects. He accumulates copper pennies until he has enough for a silver coin; he then accumulates silver coins until he has enough for a gold coin. Similarly, the wicked person never has more than the pleasures of the moment. And when he reaches the end of his life, he is left with nothing at all. The righteous person, on the other hand, accumulates bundles of mitzvos in increasing denominations of time: days, weeks, months, years. And when he reaches the end of his life, his mitzvos generate for him an eternity of contentment in the World to Come.
In a similar vein, the days of the sefirah period are days for accumulating units of preparation for receiving the Torah. We count up in order to keep track of how many units of preparation we have acquired. Moreover, since every unit of preparation is essential, we are direct to make sure that the count is of seven complete weeks, without a single day missing.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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