The concept of the counting of the Omer or Sfirat-HaOmer is the establishment of a connection and a link between Passover and Shavuot. The base of this Mitzvah came from the agricultural reality that was in Israel in past times. According to Halacha (Jewish law) we are forbidden to eat from the new harvestbefore Omer’s bringing to the Beit HaMikdash.
Today that most of us are not farmers, what is the significance of this Mitzvah? In other words why is the Omer-counting relevant for us today in our generation?
To answer that we need to answer some additional questions:
- What is the connection between the essence of Shavout and the Omer sacrifice that causes Shavuot to fall on the concluding fiftieth day of the Omer-counting period starting from the initial day of the sacrificing of the Omer? (The date of Shavout depends only on this counting).
- If the Omer-counting creates the desire to get to Shavout , then why do we count in ascending order and not in descending order emphasizing the days that are still left ?
- If this counting is coming to symbolise a process that began on Pesach why do we count only from the second day of Pesach?
- More over, why do we count from the day of the sacrificing of the Omer and not from Pesach?
- According to the idea that the Omer counting is a process towards receiving the Torah, therefore these days should be happy days, so how did it happen that this period turned it into mourning days? And if the reason is the death of the students of Rabbi Akiva then why particularly this incident, after all, the death of the students of Rabbi Akiva is not the only traumatic event in our history?
- According to Gemmara the students of Rabbi Akiva died between Pesach and Shavout, if so, why do we stop mourning on Lag-BaOmer (the 33rd of the Omer counting)?
According to the Gr”a (Rabbi Eliyao from Vienna, lived in Vienna more then 250 years ago) the days of the Omer symbolize the “Jewish answer” for all the social and the spiritual revolutions of the world.
Therefore, all the biggest national events will be during this term (250 years ago, he spoke about the specific date of Yom Hatzmaot ,Yom Yeroshalim etc).
Our obligation is to understand the essence of these days and not just to technically count them.
This article will show the process from Pesach to Shavuot that expresses the Jewish revolution, through the biggest events that occurred over these days.
The goal of this article is to discover the secrets behind the numbers of the Omer counting, in order to achieve a true receiving of the Torah on Shavuot the pinnacle of this entire process, starting with the Omer sacrifice being the base of all the process.
B = The idea of the counting process:
Hashem commanded us to count seven weeks from Pesach to Shavuot. (Vaikra 23,15):
וספרתםלכםממחרתהשבתמיוםהביאכםאתעמרהתנופהשבעשבתותתמימות תהיינה:עדממחרתהשבתהשביעתתספרוחמשיםיוםוהקרבתםמנחהחדשה לידוד:
And you shall count from the next day after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete;
To the next day after the seventh sabbath shall you count fifty days; and you shall offer a new meal offering to the Lord.
The date of Shavuot, by definition, depends on the conclusion of the fifty day count starting from Pesach. There is no date for Shavuot in the Torah except through this counting that began with the “new meal offering to the Hashem”
The obvious conclusion is that this is a process, which enables us to deserve the high class of the Pentecost (Shavuot) day. The beginning of this long journey starts at the lowest level when Am Israel in Egypt was in the forty-ninth (out of fifty) stage of impurity. The climax of this process is receiving of the Torah on Shavuot, after counting forty-nine days of the Omer period.
Why and how does this counting express this process?
Sefer Hachinoch (Mitzva no’ 306) wrote the following:
כיהמניןמראהלאדםכיכלישעווכלחפצולהגיעאלהזמןההוא.וזה שאנומוניןלעומר,כלומר:כךוכךימיםעברומןהמנין,ואיןאנומונין כךוכךימיםישלנולזמן–כיכלזהמראהבנוהרצוןהחזקלהגיעאל הזמן…
counting something expresses the desire and the will to attain this time. The reason that we count the passing days and not the days that are still left is because this way shows stronger will for arriving at this time…
Sefer Hachinuch explains that this counting is the natural behavior of a person who is eagerly looking forward to something. He argues that counting in an ascending order i.e. counting how many days have passed expresses this desire. However this explanation is problematic because logically the contrary is true, we normally count down when we want to get to a certain time. Moreover there is no explanation here for the connection between the essence of Pesach and Shavuot and the Omer itself.
Some try to argue that there is no real connection between the essence of Pesach and Shavuot and the Omer itself, but rather the Omer is just a meter for the time between Pesach and Shavuot. Am Israel needed a tool in order to remember the correct time, and since the Omer harvest happens in the same time, therefore the Omer was appropriate.
Good example for this opinion we can find in the explanation of Rabbeinu Nisim from the Gmerra of Pasachim (chapter 10, p28a):
אמרולוישראל:משהרבינו,אימתיעבודהזו ? אמרלהםלסוףחמישים יום,והיומוניםכאו“אלעצמו,מכאןקבעוחכמיםלספירתהעומרכלומר בזמןהזה …
Am Israel told Moshe: when will we get the Torah? Moshe said to them: after fifty days from Pesach and it followed that each of them counted to themselves. From this our Sages established the counting of the Omer to this day…
Thus far in all the commentaries we have seen there is no mention of a process. The connection between Pesach and Shavuot and the Omer is just a technical one.
We are looking for the essence of these days so let’s try take a look at some other commentators.
Rabbi Kook wrote an article about “the Shabbat and Am Israel and the festivals” in order to try and explain the deep meaning of these days.
Rabbi Kook defined the spiritual process of the Omer. He wrote that Am Israel is a nation that was intended to elevate the physical world to a level of holiness.This is our responsibility and this is the essence of a Jewish life. Theoretical study of Torah isn’t enough for us. Our ambitionand desire is to implement Torah and holiness into our daily lives. In addition we hope that the Divine force will motivate all our activities.
The bread is the most basic of foods and therefore is the most basic element of the physical world.
Therefore the act of bringing the first sheaf of corn to Beit HaMikdash expresses in the best way the connection between heaven and earth. If even the elementary food doesn’t get eaten before it’s bringing to the Temple then how much more so everything should be connected to holiness.
This is the essence of the Mitzavah of the Omer and this is the message that created by this act. It follows that this is also the essence of Jewish life.
Am Israel was redeemed from Egypt in order to establish a holy nation with all its values motivated by holiness.
This situation is a result of a process, which starts, with the simplest things in our life. Therefore the Omer expresses the process of connecting between heaven and earth.
The foundations of our Torah is planted into the earth. This Torah grows from the ground until it reaches heaven. This Torah doesn’t rest with us by chance, but rather it’s the result of a process between Pesach the time when we became a nation, and Shavuot the time of the receiving of our laws and morality. This indeed is a unique time in the Jewish life and Jewish ideology. It doesn’t happen without preparation and days of the counting of the Omer are the preparation for renewing of the receiving of the Torah every year.
Counting in an ascending order instead of merely counting the days that are still left expresses that this is the beginning of the process. The fundamental idea of the Torah is the ability of human beings to elevate the material world, without having to wait complacently for the Torah to suddenly “drop” from a heaven.
Rabbi kook expressed it very nicely in the following paragraph:
( מאמריהראיהאעמוד 67)
יוםהבכוריםזמןמתןתורתנו והלאהאנוצועדים. בניןהארץ, היסודהראשי, החקלאות, הלאהיאאצל כל העמיםרקגורםכלכליחיוניפשוט, אבלהעםאשרהנושאשלוכולו הואקדשקדשים, וארצו,ושפתו, וכלערכיוכלםקודשהם, כיהואכולו ממלאאתבטויהקודששלכלהאנושיותוכלהיקוםכולו,ובכלמקוםשקוי אורקדשמשתלחיםלברכהאינםכיאםענפיםמגזעמעיו, הריגם חקלאותוכולההיאספוגתקודש,והקודשהזהשביסודהחקלאימובלטהוא עלידיזהשחגיגתראשיתהקציר, העומר,עולההואלמדרגתעבודתהקודש היותרעליונה,והיהלנויוםהבכוריםיוםמתןתורתנולאותעולםלישראל, ולערובתנצחלתקומתשיבתשבותו, וצמיחתקרןישעו, עלאדמתקדשואשראהב סלהבימיןה‘ רוממה ! ימיןה‘העושהחילאשררקבהיושעישראל תשועתעולמיםוארצותבנהבניןשלםבמהרהבימינו.
(A paraphrase from Mamarey HaReaya A. p-67)
The day of Bikorim (Shavuot) ,the time of the receiving of the Torah, leads us all our lives.
Building up a country and agriculture are the main foundation of life. For all other nations these elements are just a simple necessity, but Am Israel’s entire life is Holiness, and its country and its languageand all of its values are holy, and this nation fills all of humanity with holiness and as result its agriculture is also absorbed with holiness. This idea expressed by the bringing the Omer sacrifice that we celebrate with the first produce that is brought to the temple, the first connection between heaven and earth.
A similar idea we can be found by Rabbi Eliyau Desler. He asked why do we count only from the second day of Pesach and not from the first one? The answer is that the first day is miraculous time of the establishment of our nation. But the challenge and the essence of the process that we have talked about, is the ability to do something ourselves. This is the essence of the second day. The test of every revolution is “the day after…”. The moment that we got the responsibility is the moment of the beginning of this process.
Rabbi Elijah Dasker wrote the follow things in his book is “A letter from Elijah”:
…אבלעלפיפנימיותהמצוהמלמדלנוקרבןהעומרשאיןלנולהשתמש בעולםהזהאלאככלילעבודתה’,כיכלהעולםכולולהשי“תהוא, ואין להשתמשבואלאלעבודתו .וזההגדרהפנימישל“ממחרתהשבת “שהוא השבתתרשותטומאהמהעולם. וכשמצליחיםלעוררבקרבנואתהשאיפהלהשיב הכלאליויתברך ,הריעליולבדוקבכליוםויוםאםלאאבדהממנו נקודהכלשהיאמהשאיפההטהורהלעלייה…
The deep meaning of the Omer mitzvah teaches us that we not allowed to use this world unless it is to serve God. This is the purpose of the world and this purpose is “Mimacharat Hashabbat” – the second day (of Pesach) that is intended to start the process against the evil in the world. When we succeed to instill in ourselves the desire to holiness then we have to make sure that every day we achieve a new higher spiritual level without losing any of this acquired desire…
We found that there is a deep spiritual process between Pesach and Shavuot that we experience every year again and again. The focus of this process is to connect heaven and earth. The way to achieve it is by elevating all the materialistic reality to holiness.
The materialistic Omer that was brought to the holy place represents this process whith its climax being the receiving of the Torah. Counting the says which have passed and not the days that are still leftgives the ultimate message that each day and each stage was built on a basis of the former step.
Of course that this process is supposed to be a joyous one. If so how did it happen that these days turned into mourning days?
C = The failure of the idea of “the counting process” during the generations.
The people of Israel never managed to succeed to fulfil their life according to the ideal that is described by the Omer process. This in itself is a good enough reason to break up the happiness and to turn them into days of mourning. But the Halacha explains the reason behind the mourning in a different way completely. The Shulchan Haruch wrote the following (Orach Chaim 493 A):
נוהגים שלא לישא אשה בין פסח לעצרת עד ל”ג לעומר, מפני שבאותו זמן מתו תלמידי רבי עקיבא;
והוסיף הרמ”א : הגה: מיהו מל”ג בעומר ואילך הכל שרי .
The custom is not to get married between Passover and the Shavuot , until the 33rd day of the Omer, because Rabbi Akiva’s students died in this time period.
The Ram”a added that beyond this day there is no prohibition.
This explanation arises some questions:
–Why is Rabbi Akiva’s pupils death a reason for the happiness lockout? Is there an essential connection between their death and the Omer counting?
–Why is it that only the death of the students of Rabbi Akiva turned it into a period of mourning? What is so special about this case, after all, the death of the students of Rabbi Akiva is not the only traumatic event in our history?
–According to the Gemmara (Yevamot 62 B) Rabbi Akiva’s pupils died between Pesach and Shavuot, is that an actual fact or is it just trying to convey a message? In addition, why do we stop the mourning on the 33rd day of the Omer if they died until Shavuot?
It seems that the story of Rabbi Akiva and his pupils is the key for the secret of the Omer counting days, therefore the Halacha says that it is dependant on this fact.
It is known that Rabbi Akiva was instrumental in the development of the Oral Torah. He was characterized in his special optimistic attitude. The best example for this is the story in the Gemmara Makot (24B):
פעםאחתהיועוליןלירושליםכיוןשהגיעולהרהצופיםקרעובגדיהםכיון שהגיעולהרהביתראושועלשיצאמביתקדשיהקדשיםהתחילוהןבוכין ור“עמצחקאמרולומפנימהאתהמצחקאמרלהםמפנימהאתםבוכים אמרולומקוםשכתובבווהזרהקרביומתועכשיושועליםהלכובוולא נבכהאמרלהןלכךאנימצחקדכתיב(ישעיהוח‘)ואעידהליעדים נאמניםאתאוריההכהןואתזכריהבןיברכיהועכשיושנתקיימהנבואתו שלאוריהבידועשנבואתושלזכריהמתקיימתאמרולועקיבאניחמתנועקיבא ניחמתנו:
Once they were coming up to Jerusalem together, and just as they came to MountScopus they saw a fox emerging from the Holy of Holies. They started weeping and R. Akiba seemed merry. Wherefore, said they to him, are you merry? Said he: Wherefore are you weeping? Said they to him: A place of which it was once said, And the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death, is now become the haunt of foxes, and should we not weep? Said he to them: Therefore am I merry; for it is written, And I will take to Me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the Son of Jeberechiah. Now what connection has this Uriah the priest with Zechariah? Uriah lived during the times of the first Temple, while [the other,] Zechariah lived [and prophesied] during the second Temple; but Holy-Writ linked the [later] prophecy of Zechariah with the [earlier] prophecy of Uriah, In the [earlier] prophecy [in the days] of Uriah it is written, Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field etc. In Zechariah it is written, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, There shall yet old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem, so long as Uriah’s [threatening] prophecy had not had its fulfilment, I had misgivings lest Zechariah’s prophecy might not be fulfilled; now that Uriah’s prophecy has been [literally] fulfilled, it is quite certain that Zechariah’s prophecy also is to find its literal fulfilment. Said they to him: Akiba, you have comforted us! Akiba, you have comforted us!
Rabbi Akiva was a man of action. He recognized that the mission of the people of Israel is to take a responsibility in promoting the redemption process, by “Ataarota Dalatata” (a natural redemption process that is driven by human actions). Therefore, he supported the armed revolt against Rome and he called Bar Cochva (The leader of the rebellion) “King Saviour”, the Messiah.
He was opposed by most rabbis as it is possible to see in the famous story in the Yeroshalmi Gemmara (Tahanit chapter 4 ,p- 68 column 4 , Halacha 5):
תני ר’ שמעון בן יוחי עקיבה רבי היה דורש דרך כוכב מיעקב דרך כוזבא מיעקב רבי עקיבה כד הוה חמי בר כוזבה הוה אמר דין הוא מלכא משיחא אמר ליה רבי יוחנן בן תורתא עקיבה יעלו עשבים בלחייך ועדיין בן דוד לא יבא
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said: Akiva my Rabbi use to say: instead of saying “there shall come a star out of Jacob” we have to say “there shall come a Cochvah out of Jacob”. Each time that Rabbi Akiva saw Bar Cochva he said – this is the Messiah, although that the other Rabbis said to him: grass will grow out of your cheeks before that Messiah will come…
Moreover, many think that he sent his pupils to take part in the rebellion and so they found their death.
Actually Rabbi Akiva was the person that tried to implement in his life the “counting idea” of connecting heaven and earth. He was the man that thought that Bet HaMikdash was intended to actively implement the vision of Torah into action. He was the man who sent his pupils to war and supported the revolt that was led by a human being of flesh and blood.
However the rebellion failed and all Rabbi Akiva pupils died. Why???
We can find an answer by looking at the story of the death of Rabbi Akiva’s pupils in the Gemmara Yevamot 62B:
ר“עאומרלמדתורהבילדותוילמודתורהבזקנותוהיולותלמידים בילדותויהיולותלמידיםבזקנותושנא‘ בבקרזרעאתזרעךוגו‘ אמרו שניםעשראלףזוגיםתלמידיםהיולולרביעקיבאמגבתעדאנטיפרסוכולן מתובפרקאחדמפנישלאנהגוכבודזהלזהוהיההעולםשמםעדשבאר“ע אצלרבותינושבדרוםושנאהלהםר“מור‘יהודהור‘ יוסיורבישמעוןורבי אלעזרבןשמועוהםהםהעמידותורהאותהשעה תנאכולםמתומפסחועד עצרת
R. Akiba said: If a man studied Torah in his youth, he should also study it in his old age; if he had disciples in his youth, he should also have disciples in his old age. For it is said, In the morning sow thy seed etc.It was said that R. Akiba had twelve thousand pairs of disciples, from Gabbatha to Antipatris; and all of them died at the same time because they did not treat each other with respect. The world remained desolate until R. Akiba came to our Masters in the South and taught the Torah to them. These were R. Meir, R. Judah, R. Jose, R. Simeon and R. Eleazar b. Shammua; and it was they who revived the Torah at that time. A Tanna taught: All of them died between Passover and Pentecost.
The Talmud explains that the reason of the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students was that they didn’t honour and respect each another. Their famous Rabbi was R’ Akiva who said “love your friend as you love yourself” and this they did not succeed to implement, even the most fundamental of issues – the relationship between one another.
If so, the reason for the mourning is an educational one in order to try to correct the failure of the past.
Rabbi Akiva’s pupils failed in the application of the Omer counting concept and so our mourning during this period is about this failure rather then the students’ actual deaths. When the Gemmara says that all them died between Pesach and Shavuot it means that they died because they missed the purpose and meaning of these days.
Rabbi Akiva is the“standard bearer” of the “counting concept”, the concept of connection between heaven and earth. His pupils failed in upholding this concept and therefore they turned to be the symbol of this concept’s failure.
If so, our mourning during the counting days is about our failure to implement this idea into our daily lives.
D = correction of the failure of the counting idea
or- the second generation of Rabbi Akiva pupils
Rabbi Akiva didn’t despair after the rebellion failure and after the death of all his pupils.
He established a new generation of pupils that included five only- Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehoda, Rabbi Yosi, Rabbi Elazar Ben Shamoa and the famous Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
These pupils dealt with his Torah. They had a hearty dispute about the attitude to the material world however their dispute stemmed holiness. He can learn about it from the story in Gemmara Shabbat (33B) that follows:
פתחרבייהודהואמרכמהנאיםמעשיהןשלאומהזותקנושווקיםתקנו גשריםתקנומרחצאותרבייוסישתקנענהרבישמעוןבןיוחאיואמרכלמה שתקנולאתקנואלאלצורךעצמןתקנושווקיןלהושיבבהןזונותמרחצאות לעדןבהןעצמןגשריםליטולמהןמכסהלךיהודהבןגריםוסיפר דבריהםונשמעולמלכותאמרויהודהשעילהיתעלהיוסיששתקיגלה לציפורישמעוןשגינהיהרגאזלהואובריהטשובימדרשאאיתבותריסרשניבמערתאאתאאליהווקםאפיתחאדמערתאאמרמאןלודעיהלבריוחידמיתקיסרובטילגזירתיהנפקוחזואינשידקאכרביוזרעיאמר מניחיןחייעולםועוסקיןבחיישעהכלמקוםשנותניןעיניהןמידנשרףיצתהבתקולואמרהלהםלהחריבעולמייצאתםחיזרולמערתכםהדוראזולאיתיבותריסרירחישתא ..יצתהבתקולואמרהצאוממערתכםנפקוכלהיכאדהוהמחירביאלעזרהוהמסירבישמעון.
R. Judah commenced [the discussion] by observing, ‘How fine are the works of this people! They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.’ R. Jose was silent. R. Simeon b. Yohai answered and said, ‘All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.’ Now, Judah the son of proselytes went and related their talk, which reached the government. They decreed: Judah, who exalted [us], shall be exalted, Jose, who was silent, shall be exiled to Sepphoris; Simeon, who censured, let him be executed. He and his son went and hid themselves in the Beth Hamidrash,[and] his wife brought him bread and a mug of water and they dined. [But] when the decree became more severe be said to his son, Women are of unstable temperament: she may be put to the torture and expose us.’ So they went and hid in a cave. A miracle occurred and a carob-tree and a water well were created for them. They would strip their garments and sit up to their necks in sand. The whole day they studied; when it was time for prayers they robed, covered themselves, prayed, and then put off their garments again, so that they should not wear out. Thus they dwelt twelve years in the cave. Then Elijah came and stood at the entrance to the cave and exclaimed, Who will inform the son of Yohai that the emperor is dead and his decree annulled? So they emerged. Seeing a man ploughing and sowing, they exclaimed, ‘They forsake life eternal and engage in life temporal!’ Whatever they cast their eyes upon was immediately burnt up. Thereupon a Heavenly Echo came forth and cried out, ‘Have ye emerged to destroy My world: Return to your cave!’ So they returned and dwelt there twelve months, saying, ‘The punishment of the wicked in Gehenna is [limited to] twelve months.’ A Heavenly Echo then came forth and said, ‘Go forth from your cave!’ Thus.’; they issued: wherever R. Eleazar wounded,
Actually Rabbi Simon Bar Yochai sets a very clear opinion, which says that every result of any action in the material world that didn’t come from holly motivations we must not use or derive benefit from it. It is very interesting that Hashem used the citation from Rabbi Simon’s words. The Gemmara in Avoda Zara (p 2) tells us that when the Messiah will come Hashem will reward each nation that contributed something to the world. But Hashem will reject Rome by the argument of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai :
‘All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.’
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai turned to be the ‘standard bearer’ of the concept of connection between heaven and earth. The tradition says that in the thirteenth year in the cave he wrote the Kabalistic Torah that was intended to be the base for the vision of Geulah process. The life purpose of Rabbi Shimon became to be the bearer of his Rabbi’s (Rabbi Akiva) Torah. According to his Torah we have the formula for correction of ‘failure of the Omer concept ’.
Therefore the date of the Rabbi Simon’s death was established with the intention of broadcasting his message.
This message is a good reason to end the mourning. From this moment on by following Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon’s way, we have a tool by which to implement the concept of the Omer process. This day is Lag BaOmer (33rd of Omer counting) therefore we stop the mourning in Lag BaOmer (the bonfire of Lag BaOmer symbolizes the distribution of this light, of this message).
Beni Akiva Movement follows this ideology of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Kook wrote the following words for the youth of Beni Akiva when they established their movement:
(A paraphrase from Mamarey Harehaya A . page 202)
יקירילבבי “בניעקיבא“…תהיונוחליםאומץעדכדיהשפעהגםכןעל חוגיםשונים,… בעיתיםהללועלעםסגולתו. מרביעקיבאאורןשלישראל אשרבשמואתםנקראיםבבחינתאיגודכם,היונאמכווניםלשלשתהסימנים המציניםלנולדורותאתקדושתוהעליונה, שהם:
ראשיתאהבתהתורהעדלכדימסירותנפששלסבלבלתיגבולי, הדעה היסודיתשסםהחייםשלהאומהומכוןגאולתהאיןלותוכןאחרכיאםזאת התורהשהיא “חיינוואורךימינו“.
השניתההכללה “כולהוסתימתאהאליבאדרביעקיבא” פלגיםרביםהולכים וזורמים, מתניתין, תוספתא, ספרי, ספראוכו‘ אבלהכלבאמתוךאותוהים הגדול, תורתוהכוללתשלרביעקיבא
והשלישיתהיאמדתרביעקיבאהמיוחדה, שהיאמתעוררתעכשיובזמןצמיחת הישועה, להיותלנולאורעולם, התלהבותומסירותלחזקכלחזוןשלגאולה ותחיהלישראלוארצו ….
ודוקאמפנישהחזוןבשעתונכשל , וברכוכבאנפלועמונפלישראלבבחינת חירותוהלאומית, בטוחיםאנוכיתורתאמתאשרבפהקדושיבואתורלה, והתורהזההולךובא, ולאתקוםפעמיםצרה,ולאלחנםלחםישראלמלחמת קיומוונצחועדדוראחרוןועדבכלל. לכואחיםובניםחביביםבכחזה, בכחד‘ גואלישראל, אלירךלבבכם, אלתערצומכלקולותשלצווחותוקל גסים. ד‘ עמנו,ובשמוותורתונדגולונעשהחיל,
My dear beloved Bnei Akiva, you will gain courage that will be great enough to also effect different groups…,in order to influence our special nation…Your name came from Rabbi Akiva the light of Israel .You have to learn three things from him and to aim and direct your organization to them . These three elements indicate to us, forever, the superior holiness. These are the following:
Firstly: love of Torah by extreme devotion without limit, and you must realise the fundamental idea that the essence of life of the nation is just the Torah…
Secondly: the ability to integrate all the different parts of the Torah together. All the different streams came from the ocean of Rabbi Akiva’s Torah
Thirdly: the special ability of Rabbi Akiva (that rises up in the time of the redemption) is the ability to be the light for the entire world which includes the development of devotion for every vision of redemption and the revival of the nation and its country.
Althoughthis vision failed once in the past, and Bar Kochva was killed and all of Israel failed with him, we are sure that the turn of the true Torah will come. Actually this turn is coming now. And there will not be a second failure…
According to Rabbi Kook the essence of the counting of the Omer is relevant in our generation more than ever before. We are the generation of realisation of redemption. We have the opportunity to connect heaven and earth and we must do so. We are a generation where the notion of a nation is something that already exists and our challenge is to ascend until the top of mountain of Sinai through the forty nine stages of the process between Pesach and Shavuot. This ascending process transcends between the birth of the nation being on Pesach and receiving of the Torah on Shavuot in order to implement the Torah into a life in Eretz Israel. The best symbol for all of this is the Omer.
E= The Omer Counting during the history (according Rabbi Eliyaoh from Vienna)
The Ger”a wrote, more then two hundred and fifty years ago ,that all the days between Pesach and Shavuot were intended for events of redemption . He wrote that the best day for material establishment and reinforcing of our connection to Israel is the twentieth day of the Omer counting and this is Yom Hatzmahot . (Kol Hator page 114)
He wrote also that the twenty-eighth day of Iyar fits spiritual redemption, and this is Yom-Yeroshalim. Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day for IDF fallen, and all the biggest events of Am Israel are in days of Omer counting.
This did not happen randomly, this is the essence of these days.
The Counting of the Omer is not merely a technical matter, rather it is a deep educational process that each Jewish person has to experience during the days between Passover and the Shavuot.
יהי רצון שבמהרה בימינו יהפכו ימי אבלות של ספירת העומר לימי ששון ושמחה וגאולה שלמה.