Rav Avigdor Miller on Why We Count Sefiras Ha’omer



What should we think about when we count sefiras haomer?


Now, everyone knows that we’re counting sefira to come closer to the very greatest event in history; and that event was Matan Torah. If not for Matan Torah, the whole creation would have been a waste. And so everybody knows that we were counting down towards that great day, the most important day ever.

But there is a kasha on this p’shat. Because why do we say, “Today is so and so many days” and the next day we add a day; we count up, one day, two days, three days. We should count down. Like this: “Today is 49 days of the omer, 49 days till Matan Torah.” The next day we should count 48, then 47. If you’re waiting for Matan Torah that’s how you should count.

I want to make sure the kasha is understood. You should go from the bigger number to the lesser number. And the less days there are left, the happier you are.

Also, why call it Sefiras Ha’omer? We should call it Sefiras Hatorah. Why Sefiras Ha’omer? What does it have to do with the omer?

So pay attention. There is a machlokes ha’poskim if the brocha we make on talmud torah is mi’dioraisah, if it’s a torah obligation. We follow the shitah that it’s mi’dioraisah. It means that if you’re in a safek if you made a brocha on the Torah in the morning, you have to say it anyhow, even though you might have said it already. In case you want, you can wait till Ahavah Rabah, the bracha before krias shema and be michaven that you’re thinking of bircas hatorah; but you must do something. But even though that’s the halacha, there are poskim who say that birchas hatorah is de’rabanan. It’s a machlokes haposkim.

And yet, when it comes to the bracha on eating bread, everyone agrees it’s d’oraisah.  Isn’t that an interesting thing? The bracha on Torah is a machlokes but the bracha after eating bread, hakol modim is d’oiraisah; everybody agrees that the possuk ארץ אשר לא במסכנות תאכל בה לחם … ואכלת ושבעת וברכת means you have to say brachos after eating bread.

So what do we see from this? That bread is more important than Torah; bread is more important than Torah because bread is life and life is the most important thing. Without that we couldn’t learn Torah. Not merely you say im ein kemach ein torah. No; kipshuto, bread is the opportunity to live in this world.

So what do we do? We thank Hakodosh Boruch Hu for the bread and everyday we count. “Today is the first day we’re thanking You for the bread.” “Today is the second day we’re thanking You for the bread.” The omer means bread. The third day, the fourth day. Keep on thanking.

Now where does it all end up? At Matan Torah. The bread is for the purpose of kabolas hatorah, for learning Torah. We’re thanking Hashem for giving us life. Boruch Hashem that You give us food to live.

So when you sit down to eat bread in the morning – every morning you eat a piece of bread, pas shacharis. The Gemara says it’s a mitzvah to eat bread every morning, a little piece of bread, and it will save you from many illnesses, many sicknesses. When you eat that piece of bread, so you’re thinking, “Ahh! Bread! That’s Torah, that’s life, that’s everything.” And when you say ברוך אתה השם … המוציא לחם מן הארץ, say it with hisragshus, with excitement. Love Hashem for the bread because bread is going to bring you to everything else.

And that’s what sefira is coming to tell us. How great is the gift that Hashem gives us! פותח את ידיך ומשביע לכל חי רצון. He’s feeding us! And the purpose is eventually, to bring us to Har Sinai, to Matan Torah. It gives us life, and with all of that happiness and gratitude that we’re increasing every day, that’s how we go into Matan Torah. We love You so much Hashem for the bread You give us, that now we’re going to accept the Torah.

TAPE # E-8