B’MIDBAR (Numbers, 1:1-4:20)/SHAVUOS — “How do I Love Thee? Let me Count the DAYS”

SHAVUOS

Next Thursday night is the beginning of the Holiday of Shavuos.  Shavuos commemorates the day, 50 days after the Exodus from Egypt, when G-d gave us the Torah.

For more on Shavuos click here or here.

“How do I Love Thee?  Let me Count the DAYS”

G-d seems to take great interest in knowing how many Israelites there are.  He can’t seem to stop counting us!  He commissioned a census after the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus, 12:37), after the sin of the Golden Calf (ibid. 38:26), and now again, a little over a year after the Exodus.

Why does he keep counting us?  Doesn’t He know how many we are?!  Rashi explains that the repeated counts demonstrate His love for the Jewish People.

Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz explained Rashi’s comments.  Picture a wealthy man sitting in his treasure house counting his money.  How many times does he need to count?  He already knows, from the first count, how much he has.  Why does he continue?

Because he loves his money!!  Every gold and silver coin jingles as it drops back into the money bag.  He is so caught up with his love of money that he just sits there counting it, again and again and again.

That’s how much G-d loves you.  He adores you, His precious and beloved child!  Therefore He counts us, again and again and again.

We, too, have been counting:

You will count for yourselves, from the day after the rest day(i.e, from the second day of Passover)… seven complete weeks…  (Exodus, 23:15)

We are counting the days from Passover, the celebration of our release from Egyptian bondage, until Shavuos, the celebration of our standing at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah;  the REASON for our release from Egyptian bondage.

G-d took his precious children out of Egypt on Passover so that He could give us His precious gift of the Torah seven weeks later.  We are supposed to count, with eager anticipation, looking forward to receiving G-d’s precious gift.

Every Passover, we relive the Exodus.  Today, Friday, is Day #43 in our 49-day count to that special day when we will re-live that wonderful experience of receiving the Torah.

Do we love G-d as much as He loves us?  Do we love His Torah as much as He expects us to love His Torah?  Do we count the days with eagerness to grab every opportunity to fulfill His Mitzvahs?

Every day is a gift.  We should count these valuable gifts, appreciating how dear and rare they are.  A rich man counts his money because he loves his money.  G-d counts us because He loves us.  We need to count the days we have, filling each one with holiness and meaning.

The dividends it will pay will be countless!

Have a great Shabbos and Yom Tov.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz

To leave a comment about this article, or to read other readers’ comments on this article, scroll down past the archive links.

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From the Archives

“Can Familiarity Breed CONTENT?” (2010)

A fellow came up to me in Shul recently and asked, “Why is it so hard to pray with feeling?”

… I studied at a Yeshiva in Israel for six years.  Then I left Israel, not to return for twenty years.  Ten  years ago, I went back…

I went to the Kotel.  The Western Wall, the sole remnant of a magnificent Temple of G-d that the Romans destroyed two thousand years ago; a Temple that we pray every day to see rebuilt.  ATemple over which our People have shed millions of tears for thousands of years.

As Jewish Law requires, I tore my shirt the same way a mourner does at the funeral of a loved one.  I stood there at the ruins of our Temple in my torn shirt looking like a mourner.  But you know what?  Deep down, I didn’t FEEL like a mourner!

I couldn’t understand it.  At the Tombs of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs I was overcome with emotion.  Why was the site of our destroyed Temple different?

I’m a religious Jew.  I pray every day for the Messiah to come and for the Temple to be rebuilt.  I fast every Tisha B’Av, and join my People in mourning for the Temple.   Why did I not feel the same, deep emotions that I felt at those other places?

I don’t know for sure, but I have a theory…

Read more.

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“How do I Love Thee?  Let me Count the DAYS” (2009)

… Picture a wealthy man sitting in his treasure house counting his money.  How many times does he need to count?  He already knows, from the first count, how much he has.  Why does he continue?

Because he loves his money!!  Every gold and silver coin jingles as it drops back into the money bag.  He is so caught up with his love of money that he just sits there counting it, again and again and again.

That’s how much G-d loves you.  He adores you, His precious and beloved child!  Therefore He counts us, again and again and again.

We, too, have been counting…

Read more.

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“Hair Today — Gone Tomorrow!” (2004)

… Reuters listed the story in its “Oddity” category, citing a “ritual ban” by “an ultraorthodox sage.”  … The New York Times, that bastion of Jewish anti-semitism, examined the human-interest and business ramifications of the ban.  NewsRadio WCBS described a “demonstration” in Brooklyn.

Everything I read or heard in the media seemed to suggest a fringe (pun intended!) fanatic group of religious fundamentalists reacting with intolerance toward the beliefs and practices of others.  Chat rooms all over the web abounded with obnoxious off-color comments and jokes.

What’s going on?  The issue revolves around a temple in India where pilgrims offer their hair to a Hindu deity.  This hair is then sold as a fund-raiser for the temple.  Apparently, some of this hair has found its way into the wigs worn by religious Jewish women.  Rabbinic leaders have declared these wigs unusable, due to having been used for idolatrous practices.

The media are going to town, describing Jewish women in a frenzy, lost without their precious wigs.  The news reporters especially enjoy telling us about group “wig burnings.”  Can’t you just envision the mob scene, as wide-eyed “ultraorthodox fanatics” launch the offensive hairpieces onto the raging pyre? …

Read more.

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“Humility vs. Self-Esteem” (2003)

Life is filled with contradictions.  We are told to be humble.  Then the Torah tells us how great we are…

Read more.

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“Legacy Building” (2002)

I’ll never forget that night…February 14, 1979.  It was the evening when I first met the young lady who would eventually become my bride…

Rabbi Kagan, the leader of world Jewry, was, at the time, quite old. He asked the young man if he was a Kohain. The young man replied that he was not. “Why not?” asked the sage. “Because my father’s not a Kohain.” “Why not?” “Because HIS father wasn’t a Kohain.”

Once the youth was sufficiently confused by the interrogation, the Chofetz Chaim explained his point…

Read more.

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“Marching Orders” (2001)

… After the Nazis invaded the small village of Klausenberg, they began to celebrate in their usual sadistic fashion…The officer became enraged. He lifted his rifle above his head and sent it crashing on the head of the Rebbe.

The Rebbe fell to the ground. There was rage in the officer’s voice.  “Do you still think you are the Chosen People?” he yelled.

Once again, the Rebbe nodded his head and said, “Yes, we are.” The officer became infuriated. He kicked the rebbe in the shin and repeated. “You stupid Jew, you lie here on the ground, beaten and humiliated. What makes you think that you are the Chosen People?”…

Read more.

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This is the weekly message at www.torahtalk.org.   Copyright © 2000-2011 by Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz.  May be reprinted. Please include copyright information.

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Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz is a Mohel (www.Brisrabbi.com) and chaplain inMonsey,New York. For information about scheduling a Bris or a lecture, or just to say hello, call (800) 83MOHEL.

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Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 7:01 am  Leave a Comment  

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