Making Our Days Count
by Rabbi Ilan Segal
Rabbi Segal hails from South Africa and has been in Chinuch for many years. He is the Menahel of Afikei Torah and he lives in the Har Nof Neighborhood of Yerushalayim with his wife and family.
A man planned to spend the day fishing and needed to buy some bait. He saw a shack on the shore with a sign that said “1 can of worms-$1.00”. Approaching the old man at the window, he wondered how much bait there was in a can and if just one would be enough for his day’s fishing. So he asked “How many worms are there in a can?” “Listen son,” said the bait seller, “I’ll do right by you, but life is much too short to be counting worms”.
Some things are counted and some aren’t. Eggs are sold by the dozen so each one counts. Beans are sold by weight; the number is not significant.
In the Halachos of Bittul there is a concept “Davar shebeminayn eino batel” Something that is counted cannot be Batel. Often, a small proportion of Issur that mixes with heter can be disregarded if there is a sufficient quantity of Heter. But if the Issur is an item which is sold by number, not in mass, then it can never be batel. Why? Because counting indicates that each individual object in the count is significant. Something which is important enough to be counted can’t be nullified.
One Succos I had a visit from a not yet religious family. I showed them my Lulav and Esrog and the husband was curious as to what an Esrog cost. I explained that prices range from 50 shekels to thousands depending on the quality of the fruit. He said: “So they’re not the kind of fruit that you would see in Supermarket for 6.50 shekel a kilo.” “Definitely not,” I said. He turned to his wife and said “See, I told you those fruit in Supersol weren’t Etrogim!”
We count Esrogim – we don’t count worms.
For 7 weeks we have an incredible Mitzvah which requires us to count our days. Through Sefiras HaOmer we go through an annual exercise to remind ourselves how precious every single day is. Days which are counted are days which are appreciated. They are significant and can never be Batel.
As Dovid haMelech said “למנות ימינו כן הודע ונביא לבב חכמה”.
We count our days so that our days will count!