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    Shining like a jewel – Emor

    The term s’firat ha’omer – Counting the Omer – derives from this week’s portion, which states, us’far’tem lachem, “you shall count for yourselves” (Lev. 23:15).

    The Riziner Rebbe (d. 1850) saw in the word us’far’tem a double layer of meaning. It indicated a duty to count, but it could also be connected to sappir, a sapphire stone. He said that its lesson was that as we counted each day we should make that day shine like a jewel.

    Some people think the best days of their lives were when they were young. Others focus on the time when the whole family was at home and a Shabbat or a Seder was a remarkable experience.

    The view of the Psalmist is hinted at in the first of the Friday evening Psalms, which says hayom im b’kolo tishma’u (Psalm 95:7), usually rendered, “O that today you would hearken to His voice!” – in other words, “If only you would make this the day when you listened to God!”.

    But it is also possible to translate the Hebrew, “O that you would hearken to today’s voice!” – “If only you would heed the call of this and every day, to make it a day that would shine for ever!”

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