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Thought for the Day: Chesed -- No Detail Too Small

Hebrew lesson for the day.  The verb shin-beis-suf has no denotation nor connotation of resting or relaxing; it means cessation.  In Modern Hebrew (a simplified and regularized derivative of Lashon HaKadosh) the noun "shvita" means a labor strike.  Just saying.

As noted (difference between ba-omer and la-omer, machlokes whether to say ba-omer or la-omer), the korban omer is at the center of very big things.  R' Dessler brings out an additional dimension from the way the Torah tells us about the korban omer.  First, "mi'macharas ha'shabas yanifenu" -- "from the day after Shabbos (ie, Chag haPesach) you shall wave it" (Vayikra 23:9).  Then, "ad mi'macharas ha'shabas ha'sh'vi'is tisp'ru chamishim yom" -- "until the day after the seventh Shabbos (ie, week) count 50 days" (Vayikra 23:16).  So the description of bringing the omer and counting the omer uses the word Shabbos twice; once to mean "Chag haPesach" and once to mean "week".  The Oral Torah tells us to interpret that two uses of the word shabbos that way.  Great.  No problem.  So here's R' Dessler's bomb question: Why not just say "mi'macharas ha'chag" and "mi'macharas ha'shavu'a"?  Baruch HaShem we have the Oral Torah and our Chazal to tell us how to read and understand our Holy Written Torah.  But for goodness sake; can't it just say what it means?

Says R' Dessler, the Written Torah is saying precisely what it means.  It's just doing it in the most compact and perfect way possible (you can do that when you are G-d).  The period of time between Pesach and Shavuos is all about preparing to receive the Torah.  The preparation requires us to become new people.  Not cleaned up people.  Not the same old people with polished up midos.  New people.  The old has to be removed and destroyed.  There has to be a cessation -- a sh'visa.  We start on Pesach with biur chameitz and obliterate every bit of physical chameitz; assur b'ma sh'hu -- the smallest amount is assur.  Then we work for 49 days to obliterate the spiritual chameitz -- the smallest amount is assur.

How do you do that?  I would like to suggest, based on what we have learned from the Ramban, that we work on our mida of chesed.  And here I would like to also suggest that the reason we keep mentioning the measure (omer) which is really so small compared to what it permits, that the smallest chesed is worth while.  My wife and I have a daily routine that helps us in that endeavor.  We both like to have a cup of coffee in the morning.  I get up earlier than she does.  We have acquired a one cup coffee maker and every night she prepares the machine to produce on cup of coffee for me.  I get up in the morning and as soon as my coffee is brewed, I prepare the machine to make one cup of coffee for her.

It's a small thing.  I could spend the same amount of time making a cup for myself and she could spend the same amount of time making a cup for herself.  Or we could get a (much cheaper, by the way) four cup brewer and be much more efficient.  But then that powerful little shot of chesed would turn into a destructive kernel of selfishness.

One more thing.... I didn't want that one cup brewer; it's expensive and inefficient.  Sorry, honey.  I was wrong, you were right; it's been one of the best investments of our life.


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