Counting with Expectation

In this week’s Torah portion we come across 2 verses found in Leviticus 23, which says, “And you shall count for yourselves…from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths… Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.” The season of time described in these verses is the time between the festival of Passover and Pentecost—Pesach and Shavuot. God commands that the days between these two festivals be counted each year. Why is it important to count the days between these festivals? Because of what each festival represents.

The festival of Passover represents deliverance/freedom from bondage; the festival of Pentecost is a reminder regarding the giving of the Torah/God’s Law at Mount Sinai. The first thing to notice about the order of the festivals is God brings freedom before He introduces His laws. God doesn’t pile laws on top of problems, God brings freedom, and then He gives instructions on how to remain free. The significance behind the counting of days can be likened to a prisoner awaiting their release date, or a slave awaiting their emancipation.

Counting of days shows eagerness, expectation and readiness to accept whatever is next. God commands that we count these days to create an excitement for the final day of our counting, the day of Shavuot, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai. As we are currently in this year’s countdown towards the festival of Shavuot, I pray we would all remember the words of Moses, when he prayed in Psalm 90, “Lord… a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by…So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” May we all learn to number our days, and, as it says in Ephesians 5, “[make] the most of [our] time, because the days are evil.”

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