May 16, 2024 / 8 Iyar 5784 • Parshat Emor
Issue 821
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Starting on the day after the day of rest, from the day on which you bring the omer as a wave-offering, you must count for yourselves seven weeks, they must be complete.

Leviticus 23:15

The word for “you must count” (וספרתם) can also be translated as “you must make bright.” In this vein, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi interpreted this verse as follows:

You must make yourselves bright: Purify yourself until your inner holiness shines forth. This is accomplished by working on your “seven weeks” –

Seven weeks: Refine the seven emotional attributes of the human/animal soul (love, awe, mercy, confidence, sincerity, truth, and humility).

They must be complete: The way to refine them is to train them to complement each other, working together in harmony. For example, love of G-d inspires us to draw closer to Him; awe of G-d makes us feel unworthy of doing so. Yet our awareness of how much G-d wants us to draw close to Him despite our unworthiness inspires us to draw even closer to Him. Complimentarily, that same awareness of how much He wants us to draw close to Him despite our unworthiness makes us feel all the more unworthy. Thus, each emotion increases the intensity of the other.

--Daily Wisdom Volume 3