Count Your Blessings ~ Count the Omer

Count Your Blessings ~ Count the Omer

Be grateful. Count your blessings. Treat others well. Make every day count. Be kind. Take a full accounting of yourself. Be generous. Use gentle speech. Be compassionate. Remind yourself how to be a better person.

Count the Omer…

We are now in the period between Passover and Shavuot, one of the most spiritually powerful times of the year. During this time, we are supposed to evaluate our lives and our actions. This period of time is known as the period of ‘Counting the Omer’. Beginning on the second day of Passover, the Torah commands us to count 49 days leading up to the festival of Shavuot, the celebration of our receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. [Lev 23:15]

For those who have not been counting, today is the 12th day of the Omer. It also happens to be the 12th day of April, which makes counting the Omer particularly easy this year. The counting of the Omer ends this year on May 19th, followed by Shavuot on May 20th.

According to rabbinic tradition, the purpose of this count is to spiritually bridge the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. By counting seven times seven weeks, we remind ourselves how much time has elapsed since our escape from Egypt – physical freedom — and how much time remains to prepare ourselves to receive the Torah – Shavuot – spiritual freedom.

Biblically, the link between the two festivals was agricultural, and the word omer had another meaning entirely. On the second day of Pesach, a sacrifice called the omer—literally a sheaf of barley—was offered in the Temple, marking the beginning of the harvest season. Fifty days later, on Shavuot, a new wheat offering was made, concluding the celebration of the grain harvest.

Counting the omer in the Temple period was a different ritual than the spiritual one we practice today, but it provided the foundation for the ethical self-analysis that is the counting of the omer today.

If you haven’t counted the omer before, you can begin by keeping it simple and just counting a different blessing each day. Or you can look deeper, and count the ways in which you can strive daily to be be a better person.

Be grateful. Count your blessings. Treat others well. Make every day count. Be kind. Take a full accounting of yourself. Be generous. Use gentle speech. Be compassionate. Remind yourself how to be a better person.

Count the Omer.

B’ahava,

Cantor Jacqui