We have begun to count!

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The Seder is behind us? Shavuot is in front of us! After 48 hours of holiness, of Shabbat and the first day of Pesach, we have begun to count. Today is day one of counting the Omer. Tomorrow we will count two days, and so on until the holiday that marks the giving of the Torah, the festival of Shavuot. The counting of the Omer continues for seven weeks and connects these two festivals - Pesach and Shavuot.

There is an important principle here: the festival of Pesach may be a climactic moment in our history, but there is another climactic moment to come that's even greater. The Exodus out of Egypt leads to Mount Sinai. We did not gain freedom for its own sake, but rather from a desire to fill that freedom with content. Freedom is not only about rights or privileges, but also about responsibilities. Freedom was not just an end to our horrible enslavement to Pharaoh, but rather the beginning of our meaningful "enslavement" -- to values, to truth, to everything we would receive on Mount Sinai.

Everyone is invited to join in the counting.

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