Guest Post by Reb Meir of Yeshivat Yesh Ma L'asot
There is a story told of a village in Hungary before the end of World War II where the Nazi (y"m) officers were more concerned with winning the war against the Russians and the Allies than with killing Jews. The Nazis approached the Rav of the village with an offer to save the lives of the Jewish community from extermination in exchange for money to buy ammunition. They gave him one week to come up with the money (an enormous sum). The rav, with superhuman efforts made contact with Jewish agencies outside of Hungary who miraculously came up with the sum and secretly smuggled it into Hungary reaching the rav's hands before the deadline set by the Nazis.
Before they came back the rav found out that these specific Nazi officers were extremely corrupt and were planning to take the money and still exterminate the Jewish community. When they arrived at the rav's house the rav was standing next to the home-fire (it was winter time) with the whole bundle of cash in his hands burning it. He then said to the Nazis: "Not only do you want to kill us, but you want us to pay you for it???!!!"
One point that comes out of this story is that the yetzer hara (the evil inclination) tells us - convinces us - in the same way. He literally wants to "kill us" and have us agree to his doing so. He convinces a person to begin slacking in his Avodat Hashem, his holy desire and yearning, with all types of rationalizations. This is the acceptable norm, or "you're getting older now" or "just be like everybody else, why must you stick out" and the like.
No!!! Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says "don't give in to the yetzer hara! Not even an inch!" You are entitled and worthy of fulfilling your potential and yearning to be a better Jew. Why must you bend and settle for anything less. Why should the difficulties of life have the upper hand in determining your spiritual development? If there is free will at every level in life then you ARE entitled to choose which direction you would like to, and will, follow.
The Rebbe says "daven!" Keep it up and don't stop. To this Reb Noson of Breslev adds that the person didn't daven at all or not enough. Nothing else. You just have to be stubborn and consistent in your search for revealing the real truth of your reality and daven with all your heart.
With the sefirah count we make a statement to Hashem that "every day counts!" Every day is a day and it makes a difference in our spiritual growth no matter how dead or low or meaningless. It is still a day in the countdown to receiving the Torah.
So keep up the countdown and hatzlacha rabba (great success!)
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא