Count-down or Count-up? Counting the Omer*

  A few years ago, my youngest son Yair came home from preschool and excitedly told me his teacher’s latest story about a little boy who in honor of his upcoming birthday was told that he would get to go ride on a REAL train. Every day he would ask his mother if his birthday had arrived yet, so his mother decided to make him a calendar with the special day highlighted, and he would check off each day that went by, getting closer and closer to the big day. “You see, Imma? You see? Every day we are getting closer and closer to Shavuot- when G-d gave US a present – the Torah! That’s why we count the Omer!” I smiled. Yes, his teacher really has a special way of making the Mitzvot come alive for her students. “Hey Imma, I have a question.” That afternoon, Yair- after building a “calendar” out of blocks, patiently counting until he had exactly 49, was in the midst of making a Lego train with which to act out his teacher’s story. “Why don’t we count down? Ten days left until we get the Torah, nine days left, eight, and so on?” That’s my Yair for you. When he gets excited about something, he thinks the whole thing through; it remains in his thoughts while he plays, while he eats, I bet...

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