Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
The preparations for any given event give us an idea as to the substance of the anticipated event. The woman in a bridal boutique purchasing a white wedding gown is preparing for her wedding day, and the person in a camping site collecting dry wood and arranging it in a pile is getting ready to make a bonfire. It's a pretty fair assumption that the wedding gown isn't intended for wear at a bonfire, and the wood isn't being stacked in a pyramid in anticipation of a wedding reception. The same applies with preparations for spiritual and religious events. A month of introspection and repentance is certainly the suitable preparation for the High Holidays, when G-d examines our deeds and renders a judgment regarding the new year. And scouring the house in search of chametz is a sure sign that Passover is approaching -- a holiday when the possession of all leavened substances are banned for eight days.
Shavuot is the holiday that marks the anniversary of the day when G-d gave us the Torah. This monumental day also follows a preparation period--the seven-week Omer counting period. We prepare for Shavuot by counting numbers.
Growing Your Love
Sara and Barry have been married for a number of years now. Their lives have settled into a comfortable routine and an almost predictable pattern.
Like most couples, Sara and Barry have their occasional arguments, but in general, their relationship is an amicable one. They feel a definite level of comfort with one another.
Perhaps too much comfort.
As of late, Sara has been feeling nagging doubts about their relationship. The more she thinks about it, the more she realizes that her marriage is missing its original magic. With the passage of time, it has become stale, with neither she nor Barry putting forth much effort to ignite its flames of passion or infuse it with the original sweet love that attracted them to one another.
Catching Up With Ourselves
When the Jewish people left Egypt they experienced a great leap forward. In a short space of time they progressed from abject slavery to freedom. The Sages tell us they were then faced with a new and important task: to catch up with themselves.
This is one of the explanations of the "counting of the omer" which is observed in the period between Pesach and Shavuot. From the second night of Passover we begin counting, day by day. After seven weeks, forty-nine days, we arrive at Shavuot on the fiftieth day, when the Torah was given at Mount Sinai.
This process of counting the days, one by one, is explained as signifying the attempt to improve oneself in a steady, step-by-step mode. Leaving Egypt was a leap of progress, a breakthrough from the lowest depths. But then there is the need to catch up with oneself, to achieve genuine and permanent qualities as individuals and as a nation.