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Tuesday, Nissan 24, 5781 (9th day of the Omer)/ April 6, 2021


We find ourselves now between the holidays of Pesach – the holiday of our freedom, and the holiday of Shavuot – when G-d gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai.


Beginning with the second night of Pesach, until Shavuot, a period of forty nine days, we perform the special mitzvah of "Counting of the Omer" ("Sefirat Haomer"). 


Each night, at the end of the evening service, we recite the following blessing, "Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us regarding the counting of the Omer."  Then we mention the appropriate day of the Omer. We perform this mitzvah for a period of forty nine days (seven weeks).


The mitzvah of counting the Omer is found in Leviticus (23:15): "And you shall count unto you... seven weeks complete they shall be."


As with all mitzvot, this mitzvah of "Sefirat Haomer," which connects the holiday of our Exodus from bondage; and Shavuot, when we received the Torah, teaches us a special lesson.


On the day of the Exodus, the people of Israel gained their physical freedomfrom Egypt. However, they still did not free themselves of their "spiritual" enslavement to the Egyptians. After hundreds of years of slavery it would take more than just leaving Egypt to accomplish that purification.  As the saying goes, "It was easier to take the Jewish people out of Egypt, than to take Egypt out of the Jewish people."


The seven weeks between the Exodus and receiving the Torah enabled the Jewish people to gradually elevate themselves each dayuntil, in the end, they were completely rid of their spiritual enslavement and were ready to receive the Torah.


The Ten Commandments begin with, "I am the L-rd your G-d who delivered you from the land of Egypt from the house of slavery." True freedom took place at Mount Sinai when we received the Torah.


The Jewish festivals which G-d gave us are not merely days of physical celebration. They are also opportunities for us to draw spiritualenergy, inspiration and elevation for the rest of the year.


Pesach is the "Season of our freedom." However, the Torah concept of freedom is not necessarily the same as the common definition.  The Torah concept of freedom is not freedom from responsibility. Freedom comes with purpose and responsibility.


True freedom can only be achieved when realizing our purpose in life through living by the laws and guidelines of our G-d given Torah.