The month of Iyar is unique—on every day of the month we perform a special, time-bound mitzvah. The “count-up” of sefirah that began on the second night of Pesach fills the entire month until we reach Shavuos. Although sefirah can be translated to mean “counting,” it has another connotation: shining, like the Hebrew word for the brilliant sapphire stone, the sapir. The word sefirah has the same numerical value as the word machshavah, or thought, and it shouldn’t surprise us that the mystical Sefer Yetzirah associates this month with contemplation.
During this month we’re focused on realigning ourselves so that we can experience the yearning for closeness to God. My closeness or distance from G-d is really founded on the content of my thoughts. Where is my mind? What am I preoccupied with? How can I get my mind to focus on my spiritual goals? And how can I take my ideals of loving my fellow Jew out into reality, so that I really act on that love?
The sefirah, the act of conscious counting, helps my inner self to shine so that I can start to bring my spiritual thoughts and stirrings down into the realm of action.
My Creator, please, through the counting, let me find the light within myself. Show me how to fill my mind with the needs of others so that I can step away from self-absorption and grow. Show me how to love other people as You want me to and realign me on a spiritual pathway. Help me to illuminate the world and others with a brilliant spiritual light of caring and selflessness.