The Season of Counting
Each night at dinner, my children ask for math problems. They started with simple addition. They now challenge themselves with multiplication. This week was different. All the word problems revolved around Passover. My son said, “What is 3 plus 2?” My daughter replied, chamisha, five, and then quoted the well known “Seder Song,” Who Knows Five? I Know Five! Five are the books of the Torah! Through all the chaos at the table, it was music to my ears, because we have entered the season of counting. We count the omer for 49 days, from Passover until Shavuot. Sefer HaChinuch sees the omer as an expression of gratitude for God’s benevolence, making the earth produce its crop annually. In essence, we count our blessings. Rabbi Yitzchak Arama, however, sees the omer as a means to a higher purpose. Nature should not be considered an end in itself. Rather, waving the omer symbolizes how our material resources allow us to serve God. So yes, we have counted many numbers this past week: 4 questions, 4 cups of wine, 15 steps of the Seder and 8 pieces of the omer. Yet, as Passover is about to conclude, what blessings will we count that will lead us to serve God that much more tomorrow?