Day 32 of the Omer

אֵין אוֹמְרִים צִדְקָתְךָ. בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁיֵּשׁ אוֹמְרִים בַּבּוֹקֶר — קוֹדֶם הַתְּפִלָּה — כְּדֵי לָצֵאת חוֹבַת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע בִּזְמַנָּהּ, גַּם כֵּן כּוֹפְלִים ג' הַתֵּיבוֹת, וּמְסַיְּמִים בְּתֵיבַת “אֱמֶת". בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע דִּתְפִלִּין דְּרַבֵּנוּ תַּם וְשִׁמּוּשָׁא רַבָּה אֵין כּוֹפְלִים, אֲבָל אוֹמְרִים “אֱמֶת".

1 [When the eve of Lag BaOmer falls on Shabbos,2 ] the passage beginning Tzidkas’cha3 is omitted in the Afternoon Service.4

In the Shema that some people recite in the morning before the Morning Service in order to fulfill their obligation to recite the Shema at the proper time,5 the [last] three words are repeated6 — [as is also done when reciting the Shema in the course of the Morning Service, if one is praying without a minyan] — and the word emes is added. When one recites the Shema while wearing tefillin whose parshiyos are arranged according to the view of Rabbeinu Tam or of Shimusha Rabba, these three words are not repeated, but the word emes is added.7

ל"ג בָּעוֹמֶר שְׁנַת תּר"ד — לְעֶרֶךְ — סִפֵּר הַצֶּמַח צֶדֶק תּוֹרַת הַבַּעַל שֵׁם טוֹב: עֶס שְׁטעֶהט כִּי תִהְיוּ אַתֶּם אֶרֶץ חֵפֶץ אָמַר ה' צְבָאוֹת. אָט אַזוֹי וִוי דִי גרעֶסטעֶ חֲכָמִים וועֶלעֶן אֵייבִּיג נִיט דעֶרגֵיין דִי גְרוֹיסעֶ, טִבְעִיּוּת'דִיגעֶ אוֹצָרוֹת, וועֶלכעֶ הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ האָט טוֹבֵעַ געֶוועֶן בָּאָרֶץ, אַז הַכֹּל הָיָה מִן הֶעָפָר, אָט אַזוֹי קעֶן קֵיינעֶר נִיט דעֶרְגֵיין דִי גְרוֹיסעֶ אוֹצָרוֹת וואָס לִיגעֶן אִין אִידעֶן, וואָס זֵיי זַיינעֶן דעֶם אוֹיבּעֶרשְׁטעֶנס בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶרֶץ חֵפֶץ. וְסִיֵּם הַבַּעַל שֵׁם טוֹב: אִיך וִויל מאַכעֶן פוּן אִידעֶן, אַז זֵיי זאָלעֶן געֶבּעֶן דעֶם יְבוּל, וואָס דעֶם אוֹיבּעֶרשְׁטעֶנס בָּרוּךְ הוּא אַ אֶרֶץ חֵפֶץ קעֶן געֶבּעֶן.

On Lag BaOmer,around the year 5604 (1844), the Tzemach Tzedek relayed the following teaching of the Baal Shem Tov. “It is written,8 ‘For you shall be a cherished land, declares the G‑d of Hosts.’ Just as the wisest minds will never be able to grasp the vast natural treasures that G‑d has hidden in the earth, to grasp that ‘everything came from dust,’9 so, too, no one can appreciate the treasures that lie hidden within Jews, who are G‑d’s cherished land.”

The Baal Shem Tov concluded: “I want to bring Jews to the point that they will yield the kind of harvest that G‑d’s ‘cherished land’ can yield.”

A Mini-Farbrengen

The Rebbe Rayatz10 introduces this teaching by relating that the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov were once sitting in the local study hall, contemplating the depths of a teaching that they had heard from their master. They arrived at the conclusion that his path was meant only for the scholarly and spiritual elite.

And while they were speaking, the Baal Shem Tov entered and sat down among them. Then, before delivering the above teaching, he said: “I love the unsophisticated Jews. A simple Jew is the greatest treasure trove.”

As the Rebbe once explained, a Rebbe is like a miner who digs deep into the earth, sifting dirt and moving rocks until he discovers rich ore. The ore must still be refined, and the base metals removed, but ultimately, this long process will yield precious metals. Similarly, a Rebbe probes into a person’s soul, lights upon his cherished qualities, and helps him reveal them.

This analogy can be taken further. Searching beneath the surface of our personalities is not a new idea. Psychologists have spoken about this for over a century, and in recent decades, motivational specialists and personal growth coaches have ingrained themselves even in the corporate structure of western society.

The uniqueness of the Rebbe’s approach relates not to the need to dig, but to what one discovers in the process. A Rebbe views the world in terms of its latent Divinity. He sees G‑dliness in every person and in every entity, and uses all the tools at his disposal to allow that latent G‑dliness to surface and come to light.