today we start to countdown to the time we begin to count up…again…as Leviticus 23:15 requires we should:
“You shall count for yourselves…from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving…7 weeks, they shall be complete.”
we count up 49 days and the 7 weeks from the night of the second day of Pesach (feast of passover) right up to the night before the festival of Shavuot (feast of weeks…get it?!)…itself the 50th day. jubilation!
the simple mitzvah is literally to say a blessing and count each night for the full 7 weeks. you will find the text of the blessing and the formula for the counting the Omer in just about any siddur….take a look. now, we have been minding these 49 days every year since the exodus from egypt, for we know from Torah that it took 49 days for the People to reach Sinai and to encounter the beginning of the Torah journey that has been our walk ever since.
but numbering alone hasn’t been enough for spiritual jews for centuries. the Israelites began the work of walking out of spiritual bondage into freedom, and since then we have seen the time between Pesach and Shavuot as a long march of self-reflection and self-redirection–‘count for yourselves’–much like the instruction to Avraham Avinu to ‘lech l’cha’ or ‘go toward yourself”. it is a time for reaching into our emotions, our opinions, our acts and efforts…for reaching into our very souls. we try to build up our character traits; build up our prayer ability; build up our ability to love one another; build up our ability to be closer to G’d. we build our abilities to ascend Sinai one day at a time; week by week.
and the kabbalists among us recognized that the 7 weeks corresponded to the 7 ’emotional’ sefirot from chesed through malchut. each week is associated with 1 major sefirah: and since each sefira contains the aspects of all the others, each day focuses on the affect of another of the 7 sefirot on that week’s major sefirah. for those of you with the tree of life in hand, take a look. we will speak more of the plan in the day’s leading up to Pesach.
what we will try to do this season here at walkinTorah is offer thoughts, meditations, emotional and spiritual exercises…and encouragement!… to help all of us reach into ourselves daily in order to open out to the world of G’d’s creation more fully as each day and each week passes.
for those who are members of congregation beth shalom–and you know who you are–we will try to meet each sunday morning EXCEPT on 8 April 2012, which is the the second day of Pesach (and the first day of the Omer count), to share the week past and prep for the week to come. for those who join us but can’t do the face-to-face meetings, we’ll try to make sure that enough information is published daily on walkinTorah to help you keep up the pace.
let us go then, you and i, when the evening is spread out against the sky…..and learn to measure out our lives in more than coffee spoons!