Yom Haazmaut And Sfirat Haomer -

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Resource Type: Shiur in: English
Age: 12-15
Group Size: 1-100
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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26F Yom Haatzmaut instructions- HEB.doc (0.05 mb) Shiur Hebrew
26F Yom Ha'atzmaut sefirat Haomer session- ENG.doc (0.09 mb) Source Sheet English
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Resource Goal
A Shiur dealing with celebrating Yom Haazmaut during the Omer

Resource Contents


Yom Haatzmaut & Sefirat HaOmer

Understanding the power of Torat Eretz Yisrael

Instruction Sheet

and why did the Israelites merit inheriting the land of Israel? You must say it is because the merit of Sefirat Haomertherefore Moshe commands Bnei Israel telling them: When you enter the land that I am giving to you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the Cohen (Source #2 Midrash Rabba, Vayikra 28).

We have merited in our generation to behold the reacquiring of Eretz Yisrael in this time period of Sefirat Haomer. Interestingly enough, the days which we are celebrating our new redemption, Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim, those two holy festivals, both fall out on Sefirat Haomer, precisely as Chazal (as well as the Torah) implied in the Midrash above. What is this special virtue of Sefirat Haomer that empowers us to inherit Eretz Israel?

Sefirat Ha'omer connects Pesach to Shavuot; it lies between our Festival of physical redemption (Pesach) and our Festival of spiritual redemption (Shavuot) the climax of this process. One would suppose that the spiritual level we should experience during the climax of the Sefira, on Shavuot would be superior to the spiritual level of Pesach. The special Mitzvot of Shavuot, however, do not reflect this expected level. The pinnacle of Shavuot (at least in the time of Beit Hamikdash) was the offering of the two loaves of bread (Source #1, Vayikra -17):

You shall bring out of your dwellings two wave-loavesthey shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven.

This offering of Shavuot is the only (public offering) that may be and should be made of . The Holy Zohar questions this issue (Source #3 Vol II 183a):

"On Pesach the Children of Israel ran away from the bread to portray the glory of the . Now, on Shavuot, when the Children of Israel have merited receiving the heavenly bread, the manna, isn't it even more appropriate to abolish the , totally without any reminder of it? Why, therefore, is the offering of Shavuot is made of ?".

Why is it that at this very moment of the spiritual climax, on Shavuot, we bring this as an offering?

The battle against the which we conduct on Pesach, symbolizes the battle against our (evil impulse), since the is compared to the "yeast in the dough" (Berachot 17a). This is a two-phased combat, which starts with a direct attack against the but ends with elevating this very same on the altar on Shavuot. The Zohar above provides us with a vivid parable as follows (Source 7):

There was a king who had an only child who got ill. One day, this child had an uncontrollable desire to eat. Said the doctors to his father: let him eat only this specific healthy food, and until he will be well, there should not be any other food at your home. Since this child has been eating this healthy food, said the doctors, from now on, he can eat whatever he desires and he will not be harmed.

At the beginning of the struggle with we must get rid of each and every crumb of . Every secular influence should be eliminated. But that's not the end of the story. This is only the first stage of weaning from the . The real freedom from the will be accomplished only on Shavuot. Only when we will reach the level where we no longer have to fear of but, rather, find the capability to control and sanctify those secular aspects of life on the altar, only then will we be free. The victory over the cannot be accomplished by seclusion, by totally avoiding the secular influences of life and but rather by openness, by controlling those influences. On this very day, the is sanctified, as Chazal taught us: " - WITH ALL YOUR HEART", MEANS WITH YOUR TWO IMPULSES, THE EVIL IMPULSE AS WELL AS THE GOOD IMPULSE " (Mishnah, Berachot 9:5).

This process is one of the foundations of '. Only by making the distinction between the sacred and the secular on the Havdala at the beginning of the week, we can make Kiddush at the end of the week, by sanctifying and elevating the secular realm. Without realizing the fundamental distinction between and , between the Holy and the secular, body and soul, there is no chance to harmonize or synthesize them.

This transition which we are going through on Sefirat Ha'omer, is exactly the transition between the Torah of the Galut to the Torah of Eretz Yisrael. The Torah of the Galut is the Torah of seclusion, a minimized Torah: "Since the day that the Temple was destroyed, the Holy One, blessed be He, has nothing in this world but the four cubits of Halachah alone". The Judaism of the Galut in the past, was highly connected to holiness, but mostly detached from the normal and natural life aspects. An inherent part of our national revival process is the restoration of our normal and natural skills as a nation. Rav Kook clearly and specifically described this process in Orot Hatechiya 30 (Source #6):

The Judaism of the past, from Egypt until now, is a long battle against the ugly side of nature. We have done battle with nature in order to prevail over it and bring it down into its place Nature succumbed to us, the worlds steadily become more fragrant, and at the very depth of nature is a growing demand for holiness and purity, for spiritual delicacy and purification of life We are all drawing closer to nature, which is also drawing nearer to us. The young spirit that demands its land, its language, its freedom, its honor, its literature, its strength, possessions and feelings, all propelled by the flow of nature, which is, at its very heart, imbued with holy fire.

In order to return to our Homeland, we have to restore the original nature of Judaism, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael. We have to practice a life of Torah V'Avodah, Torah which can encompass all areas of life and even uplift the by offering it on the altar. In that sense, Sefirat Haomer is the best spiritual process to practice the real Torah the Torah of Eretz Yisrael. By practicing this essential aspect of the Torah, we get the privilege to inherit our homeland Eretz Israel.

" ? ..."

(Midrash Rabba, Vayikra 28)

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