Day 3 of the Omer

בְּמִנְחָה אֵין אוֹמְרִים הוֹדוּ, אַבָל אוֹמְרִים פָּתַח אֵלִיָּהוּ.

The psalm beginning Hodu1 is not recited before the Afternoon Service, but the passage beginning Pasach Eliyahu2 is recited.

שְׁנַת תּר"ח אָמַר הַצֶּמַח צֶדֶק מַאֲמָר עַל פָּסוּק אִם כֶּסֶף תַּלְוֶה גו', כֶּסֶף הוּא הַנְּשָׁמָה, עַל שֵׁם שֶׁהִיא תָּמִיד בְּכוֹסֶף וּתְשׁוּקָה לַעֲלוֹת לְמַעְלָה, וּכְדִכְתִיב רוּחַ הָאָדָם הִיא הָעוֹלָה לְמַעְלָה, דְּאָדָם הֵם נִשְׁמוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, אַתֶּם קְרוּיִם אָדָם, וְהַנְּשָׁמָה נְתוּנָה בְּהַלְוָאָה לְהָאָדָם, וּכְתִיב יָמִים יוּצָּרוּ גו', דְּיֵשׁ מִסְפָּר קָבוּעַ כו', וְחָסֵר יוֹמָא חָדָא חָסֵר לְבוּשָׁא חָדָא.

In the year 5608 (1848), the Tzemach Tzedek delivered the maamar entitled Im Kesef Talveh — “When you will lend money (lit., ‘silver’)….”3 There he explained that kesef (“silver”) alludes to the soul, for it constantly yearns4 to ascend, as it is written,5 “The spirit of man ascends upward.” The word adam (“man”) refers to the Jewish people, of whom it is said,6 “You are called man.”

Now, the soul is given to a person on loan,7 as it is written,8 “Days are created.” [Every individual is allotted] a fixed number of days, and if one day is lacking [in the mitzvos with which it should have been filled], a garment is lacking [for the soul in Gan Eden].9

Delving Deeply

It is written that10Avraham was old, advanced in years.” Understood literally, these words in the Holy Tongue would mean that “Avraham was old, coming with [his] days.” This literal meaning led the Sages to declare that11 “there was not a single day that Avraham did not fill with mitzvos.” Their message is not merely that Avraham performed many mitzvos, but that each of his days was filled with them.

Were the purpose to emphasize only that mitzvos contributed to his personal development, it would make no difference whether he had fulfilled these mitzvos over the course of all his days or he had performed the same number of mitzvos all in one day.The phrase “coming with his days” implies that in his old age he was able to account for all his days and for what he had accomplished in each of them, associating each with a particular mitzvah.12

Why is this important?

G‑d created the universe because He desired a “dwelling in the lower realms.”13 This refers to our world, which is limited by the boundaries of time and space. Just as our lifelong mission is to elevate the Divine sparks that are embedded unseen in the dimension of place, in every location in the world, so must we elevate the sparks that lie silently waiting in the dimension of time, in every moment of every day.14 Every moment is precious, for there is a specific Divine task to be accomplished every second of the day.15