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    My object all sublime – Emor

    There is a song in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado” in which the emperor says, “My object all sublime I shall achieve in time”.

    For Judaism the words resonate for reasons the lyricist did not imagine, if we say that the most sublime gift is time itself. This is the message of the counting of the Omer at this time of year.

    Think of two verses. The first, from this week’s sidra, is, “You shall count for yourselves… seven weeks” (Lev. 23:15-16). The second is from Parashat Bo: “This month shall be for you the beginning of the months” (Ex. 12:2). Both use the phrase, “for you”.

    The second verse suggests that until the Exodus from Egypt the months did not belong to the Israelites; they had no control over time because everything was determined by the oppressors. The first verse implies that now the people were free, their time was their own. They could count their days – and make their days count. What an “object all sublime”!

    The Psalmist says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may acquire a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

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