I sit here on my living-room sofa, sipping tea. Now that the chaos of Passover has somewhat abated, even though the chaos of the coronavirus lingers, I have time to reflect on the past month. I scan my organized bookshelves and feel relief at having let go of so much clutter. I reflect on the Passover Seder, this year so different than other years (all other years)—eating matzah, the bread of faith and healing. As I sit alone, I feel the quietness of my living room. I wish my mind felt as quiet, but I shall try. I will try to begin my day-to-day routine tomorrow, the new normal of social distancing.

And through it all, I wonder, how I can bring this freedom I experienced over Passover into my day-to-day life?

The month of Iyar is coming. We have begun the process of counting the Omer, which takes us on a 49-day journey. Each day will cleanse another one of our emotional attributes, so that we’ll be ready to receive the Torah on Shavuot, the 50th day.

I feel the quietness of my living room

Although the Omer spans three Hebrew months, the month of Iyar is the only month during which we count the Omer every single day. Each day, we set aside time to think about our emotional and spiritual health, and how to prepare ourselves to receive the Torah.

The Hebrew letters that spell the month of Iyar are an acronym for the phrase “Ani Hashem Rofecha”—“I am G‑d, your healer.” The fact that we have a special mitzvah of personal growth for the entire month clearly shows the healing potential carried within it. Yet there is something even more unique about the healing that takes place in this month, as G‑d is always a compassionate healer the entire year. The month of Iyar reveals the aspect of health that is G‑dly and above logic. When a person goes to the doctor, the doctor diagnoses the illness and provides medicine to cure it. Many medicines just treat the symptoms of the illness, not the root of the illness itself. The medicines may have side effects and can interfere with many other functions of the body. G‑d, however, heals the root of the illness, a healing so complete it is as if the illness was never there.

In Kabbalah, the word yad is used to refer to G‑d’s healing “hand.” There are a number of different stages of healing: In G‑d’s “surgery,” He opens the site of illness, removes the damaged tissue, cleans and heals the site of the wound, closes the skin and then heals the skin so there is no scar or sign of illness. This final level of healing, revealing absolute health, is the level of healing we experience in the month of Iyar.

Jasa was distraught after hearing that his son would have to have his leg amputated due to rapidly spreading cancer. A friend advised that he call the Lubavitcher Rebbe for a blessing. Rabbi Hodakov, the Rebbe’s secretary, answered the phone, and after hearing the details of the dire circumstances, relayed the Rebbe’s message that Jasa should call back on Friday with good news. Sure enough, at the next X-ray, there was not a sign of cancer in sight. This is just one example of the power of the Rebbe’s blessing. Through his deep connection to G‑d, the Rebbe was able to bring the level of complete healing into reality.

Through the spiritual and emotional process of Iyar, we, too, can manifest this power to bring true, unlimited, revealed G‑dly healing into this world.

Counting the Omer is a powerful tool that enables us to fulfill this massive task. During the days of the Omer, many of the students of the sage Rabbi Akiva died in a plague, due to their lack of respect for each other. On the 33rd day of the Omer, the plague stopped. Therefore, during the Omer, and especially on the 33rd day, we focus on loving our fellow Jews the same way that we love ourselves.

In the prayer following the daily counting of the Omer, we ask G‑d that though our counting and through our emotional work on the particular attribute of that day, “abundance should be drawn down into all the worlds to enable our souls to be rectified.” “All the worlds” refers to the Kabbalistic concept of seder hishtalshelut, “the order of evolution,” the chain of worlds from heaven to earth, which are animated by G‑d’s light. The G‑dly light emanates from its source and descends through each level of existence until it manifests in this physical world.

On the 33rd day of the Omer, the plague stopped

It is interesting to note the order of our request. We are asking that our personal work on our own characteristics influence not only ourselves, our families, our friends, and this physical world—we are asking that it draw down abundance from the source of creative light, influencing every level of existence. We do this because we know that the only way one can truly heal is by connecting to G‑d at His source, thereby bringing down an unlimited abundance of healing, not only to one’s self and one’s family, but to the entirety of creation.

It is for this reason that during this time, we focus on loving our fellow Jews as ourselves. It is only through true unity that we can reach the state of ultimate health, with the revelation of Moshiach today.