Counting of the Omer: A note from Rabbi Jacob

Dear Friends,

This year, I invite you to join with me in focusing attention on the Counting of the Omer.  Counting the Omer is a Jewish practice that has meaning on many levels.  On the simplest level, it is simply a matter of counting out the days–49 days–between Passover and Shavuot.  On a spiritual level, it can be understood as a way of focusing on a sequence of emotional attributes.  The mystics distinguished seven such attributes–compassion, rigor, balance, victory, glory, foundation, and sovereignty.  Each of these attributes has seven aspects.  Thus, during the first week, we focus on compassion of compassion, rigor of compassion, balance of compassion, and so on.

Obviously, the meaning of some of these emotions is more obvious than others.

Counting the Omer is also a way of preparing ourselves for Shavuot–the holiday marking the anniversary of the giving of the Torah.  Each Shavuot we receive the Torah again.  To truly receive it, one must be prepared.  The Omer process is a way of getting ourselves ready.

The Counting of the Omer begins on Saturday night, and is observed every night after dark.

Surprisingly, the best online Omer calendar with how-to directions seems to be “Counting the Homer,” based on Homer Simpson:

http://homercalendar.net/Welcome.html

A set of daily meditations can be found at

http://www.aish.com/h/o/t/48969716.html

Aish Daily Omer Meditation

Photo by Aish: Daily Omer Meditation

I will be talking about this more at the service on Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m.

Hayya, Luu, Lily and I wish everyone a sweet Pesach.

B’shalom,

Rabbi Jacob