Lileui Nishmat the 6,000,000 Kedoshim (Holy Jews) that died in the Holocaust that we commemorated on Yom Hashoa (Holocaust Memorial Day) this past week

This week’s parsha (for those of us outside of Eretz Yisrael) describes the different Kosher animals which we are forbidden to eat and concludes with our need to make ourselves holy because GOD is holy. The Nesivos Shalom in his commentary on the parsha (Vayikra, P.47) writes that it is no coincidence that this week’s parsha, featuring these two topics , is read during the time of Sefirat Haomer, or smack in the middle of the count up (i.e. we go from 1 to 49) between Pesach and Shavuot were we mark the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. The reason why, the Nesivos Shalom writes, these commandments of being forbidden to eat these non-Kosher animals and to sanctify ourselves falls out during the omer is to teach us that just as we purify ourselves by making ourselves holy and by refraining from eating non-Kosher animals so to we must work on purifying ourselves by improving our overall performance of Mitzvot (i.e. our relationship with GOD and fellow man) during this time.

However, between Pesach and Shavuot the Omer is not only a count up (i.e. we start with 1 and then end with 49) to the giving of the Torah but a time were we mourn over the death of the many students of Rabi Akiva. Our Sages (Chazal) note that the reason why Rabi Akiva’s students died was because they did not respect one another. Therefore, it is at this time of that we also work to end the animosity between us and our fellow Jewish brethren and work towards becoming a more united Jewish people.

By working ourselves in this regard, as well as improving our relationship with us and GOD we will be able to have a stronger re-experience of the giving of the Torah (which we are supposed to do every Shavuot) and please GOD bring us closer to the coming of the Moschiach may he come speedily in our days.

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, Gut Shabbes- Gidon Herschander