Four Tips To Make Your Sefirah Productive

Sefiras HaOmer is all about making something of yourself once you’ve made the conscious decision to be free of your deterministic shackles (i.e. yetziyas mitzrayim). Instead of attempting to ignorantly explain each day of sefirah esoterically, I want to contribute a few strategies that we might find useful in discovering ourselves as we near the great and awesome precipice of Shavuos.

Make a cheshbon:
This basic element of Mussar is your starting point for developing a plan. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses before deciding what to work on and how to do so. Make a private list of what you are already good at and what you would like to change. These do not all have to change at once, or even within sefirah. If you’re not sure, consult someone you trust. Make sure to keep track of your progress every day (maybe with counting sefirah) or week, accounting for successes and failures, and seeking ways to gradually transform those failures into more successes.

Clean the attic:
People are unique and therefore complex. We have all had experiences and passions that build our current experience. If you feel disconnected from yourself, try contemplating what you deeply care about or fear and why. The elements of your life that you considered debris may turn out to be roaring celestial bodies in their own right, illuminating the path to deep space.

Go away:
This is a great opportunity to challenge your discomfort with your own company. Spend time alone, allowing yourself to pry off meaningless distractions and cultures. The only way you can truly reach your potential is by running away to the cleft of the rock, determining what your one, unifying goal is. You’ll go through wind, thunder, and fire, but ultimately, realization will come like a faint whisper.

Be avant-garde:
Being dedicated to what is right demands that you be ready to fight an uphill battle, and give up everything for it. Don’t worry what others will think about your desire for improvement, even if they call you “religious.” The only one keeping you from achieving is yourself. Be a little crazy so you can break the cycle of disappointment and hopelessness and begin your journey into the uncharted land that is so familiar.

I hope these tips are pertinent and practical, and may we find strength in the struggles and victories of our forefathers, led by the endless crescendo of that great shofar, beckoning from the desert horizon.

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