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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


April 20, 2018  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Make the most of your time

By RABBI LEVI HODAKOV Chabad of Clearwater

I hope that you and your loved ones celebrated a liberating, uplifting and Happy Passover.

The current calendar period, following Passover and leading up to the holiday of Shavuot, when G-d gave us the Torah, is known as “Yemei HaSefira,” the days of Sefira.

When our ancestors left Egypt, they eagerly proceeded toward Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. We, too, look forward to reliving that experience, and count the days as we prepare to celebrate the purpose for which we were redeemed in the first place.

Every night, after nightfall, we fulfill the unique Mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer, the “counting of the Omer.” In fact, it is customary that both men and women refrain from work from sunset until after counting the Omer.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, points out that the word “Sefira” which translates as counting, also shares a connection with the word “Sapir,” which means sapphire, and is something that shines.

As can well be imagined, after hundreds of years of Egyptian slavery, the Jews spiritual morale was at the bottom of the barrel. They weren’t exactly ready for the great G-dly revelations that they merited during the Exodus. And so, beginning one day after safely checking out of Egypt, they got to work on their spiritual side. As they counted the days toward receiving the Torah, they refined themselves to a spiritual “shine.”

We are now 3330 years from that great escape, but every year we still keep counting, and spiritually refining ourselves. The Rebbe tells us that we must keep in mind that we are lucky to be G-d’s chosen people, and fortunate that He has given us His holy Torah.

There’s another benefit to counting. When we do so, we are reminded that time is precious. Let’s not waste our limited time here on Earth. Every day, indeed every hour and minute is a wonderful gift from the One Above, and by properly utilizing our time, we can be assured of amazing results. Let’s welcome each day with increased Torah study and conducting ourselves better than ever.

In the book, Hayom Yom, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory, is quoted as saying “One must be vigilant with time. One must take upon oneself the yoke of Torah. Every period of time, every day that passes, is not just a day but a life’s concern.”

With the summer fast approaching, I hope you will think about the aforementioned points. I wish you a healthy summer, and hope you will be able to make the most out of your time, making it productive as well.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. The views expressed in this guest column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.

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