Norman Fischer seems to grasp the counting of the Omer in his lovely translation of Psalm 90:12:
“help me understand how to count my days…how to embrace my life…that i may nourish a heart of wisdom”
we have to count the days, AND we have to count the weeks. it isn’t a simple count that gets you to a heart of wisdom, it seems. oh, and that ‘how to embrace my life‘ part isn’t literally in the hebrew of the psalm at all….but boy is it ever in sefirat haOmer, in the understanding of counting the days.
we have to cycle and cycle again…7 days per week, 7 weeks (each of 7 days) for the whole of sefirat haOmer. and in each day we have a reciprocating cycle of interactions of sefirah that is in sefirah. 7 paired interactions, 1 pair per day, of sefirot in each other ; every week focusing on another of the sefirot as the dominant aspect of the week, and working through the 7 sets of interactions each has with each other.
chesed with gevurah with tiferet with netzach with hod with yesod with malchut….working through each interaction down the tree…but simultaneously up from selflessness in chesed to majesty in malchut.
so while we will follow the interaction of each sefirah in every other sefirah as we move down the lower 7 of the etz chaim, we will with every day of week add up to a week. we move down the sefirot as we count up the days…not unlike the angels of Yaacov’s vision of the ladder:
“….and here, messengers of G’d were going up and down on it'” (Genesis 28:12)
up and down, back and forth, each in each to each from each. our messengers from G’d are found in the way we interact with ourselves and the world, for in our spiritual character, our emotional responses, our ethical ways of interacting that we find our clear vision of G’d in the world. it is in the aspects of ourselves as affected by all else that we find the image of G’d in which we have been uniquely created.
to sum up, we perceive G’d in the world according to how we relate with the world in all its myriad differences.
let’s make it simple, yes? say we have a family of 7, from 2 grandparents through 2 parents with 3 kids. we will be exploring the affect of the grandfather on himself, the grandmother on the grandfather, the father on the grandfather, the mother on the grandfather, the eldest child on the grandfather, the middle child on the grandfather, and the youngest child on the grandfather. that is 1 week. then we do the same with each on the grandmother, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.
we all of us understand that each is affected by every other in a family, right? and maybe that the dynamic of the interactions between them is more than the mere sum of the parts? each of us is more than just the sum of our encounters with each other and the world…..but in each encounter all are touched, and from each touch we affect our next touch of another…up and down, back and forth, cycling each in each to each from each.
hugs all round, i say, and somewhere in that embrace of life we will each find that heart of wisdom that we were born to nourish.