The gift of each day
By Rabbi Levi Simon, Chabad of Greater Dayton
According to the Jewish calendar we are now between the holidays of Pesach, Passover, and Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks.
This period has a special name and mitzvah associated with it. It is called Sefirat HaOmer or the time of the counting of the Omer. The word omer means a measure, in this case, a measure of grain. Each evening during this 49-day period, we say a blessing prior to counting of the Omer.
Historically, after the Exodus from Egypt commemorated by the Passover holiday, the Jews counted the days in eager anticipation of the receiving of the Torah which was to happen exactly seven weeks later on the holiday of Shavuot. Each year we relive this journey with our counting of the Omer.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory — whose 20th yahrzeit will occur on the third of Tammuz, corresponding to July 1 — teaches that the commandments of the Torah are not merely to remind us of our history but to give ongoing lessons and life direction for all time.
Since the flow of time is beyond our control, the counting of time seemingly has no consequence. So why does God command us to count each day?
The truth is that this mitzvah teaches us a valuable lesson. Counting things by the unit indicates the significance and importance of each unit. When we count day after day for 49 days it shows us the value of time.
We must appreciate the gift of each day and make proper use of it. The things we have to accomplish today cannot be postponed for tomorrow, for each day gone is irretrievable.
Although it is true that the flow of time is beyond our control because we can neither slow it down nor speed it up, yet we can directly affect the quality of time by filling it meaningfully.
Just as time is not really measured in quantity but quality, so too man’s efforts should be measured qualitatively. Each day brings an opportunity for improvement and for self betterment. We must never stay stagnant. We are challenged each day to learn something new, to do something positive that we have never done before. We must fill our days and weeks with goodness and kindness until we reach the ultimate perfection: a time when the world will be filled with only good. This will occur in the times of the Moshiach, the Messiah, may it happen speedily in our days.