This week's parsha
Don't Get Lost in the Crowd
After the Exodus from Egypt the Jews were so eager to receive the Torah that they counted the days remaining to that great event. This was a prelude to the precept of counting the omer which they received later at Mount Sinai.
Throughout the ages, the counting of the omer has remained a preparation to receiving the Torah. When the forty-nine days of counting the omer come to an end, the festival of Shavuot (celebrating the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai) follows immediately.
The counting of the omer finds connection with the giving of the Torah in that both stress the individual. Each person, individually, must count the days of the omer period (from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavuot) as distinct from the communal counting of the seven year cycle and the fifty year cycle. Each seventh year is sh'mitta, "the Sabbatical year"; each fiftieth year is yovel, "the jubilee year." During the yovel and sh'mitta years a number of special laws apply, and the commandment of counting the seven and fifty-year cycles was performed by a Court of Torah Law ("Beth Din") on behalf of all Israel. In contrast, the omer is counted by each person individually.
In similar fashion the receiving of the Torah was not a communal, collective experience; the Al-mighty addressed each and every individual separately: "I am G-d your G-d." In Hebrew there are two ways of saying "your G-d," the singular mode when addressing one individual and the plural form when addressing two or more people. Yet, when G-d addressed the entire Jewish nation, several million in number, the singular form was used "I am G-d your G-d." To each one of Israel individually the Al-mighty gave the Torah; to each He commanded that they study and fulfill all 613 mitzvot. Each was infused with Divinely-granted strength and ability to fulfill the Torah.
Don't get lost in the crowd. Stand up and be counted.
Each day counts; each Jew counts; each mitzva counts.