“‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.’” — Leviticus 23:15-16
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. This week’s Torah portion for this week is Emor, which means “speak,” from Leviticus 21:1–24:23.
In Israel, there is an unofficial understanding that after Passover, the school year is basically over. Partly, that’s because it’s spring, and partly because there are many holidays interspersed between Passover and the end of school, including Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days, and Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks. So even though there are still two months left of school, my children have already begun the countdown to summer!
In this week’s Torah portion, we learn that the ancient Israelites also counted the days during this time of year. When the children of Israel were freed from Egypt, they knew that they would receive God’s Word seven weeks later. In anticipation of that great day, they counted the days until the revelation on Mount Sinai. However, instead of counting down the days, they counted up. Similarly, the Bible commands us to mark the days between Passover and Shavuot every year — also by counting up.
Making Each Day Count
Why count up, and not down? Doesn’t most of the world count down the days until an important event?
While it’s true that counting down the days to an anticipated event increases the value of the coming day, it actually decreases the value of all of the days in-between. If Day Ten is just a day that I have to make it through in order to get to Day 25, then I have robbed Day Ten of all its intrinsic value. When we count up the days to the anticipated event, we are adding value and making each day count.
Think about that. How many days do we waste by mistaking them for stepping-stones toward another day without fully appreciating the blessings of every day?
This is why we count up toward the seminal event of God’s revelation on Mount Sinai. It evokes our excitement for the coming attraction without diminishing the opportunities afforded to us each and every day.
Every day is a chance to be kind and bring more joy to the world. Every day is a day that we will never have back. We must cherish and enjoy it. As we read in Psalm 118:24 (NLT), “This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Join us on Thursday, May 6, for the Fellowship Fast, a call to national prayer and fasting. Learn more about our Fast here, or to submit a prayer request.