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Would You Like to
Count the Omer?
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If you would like to Count the Omer, order Amichai Heppner's book online at the TAO store. Just click here.

"Amichai's book certainly adds a new dimension to Counting the Omer." - Sandy Koi

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Counting  of  the  Omer
Would You Like to Count the Omer?


"You shall count for yourselves, from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving, seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh Sabbath you shall count, fifty days." - Leviticus 23:15-1


The Torah obligates us to count the days for seven weeks from the second night of Passover to the day before Shavu'ot. We call this period the Counting of the Omer. In the days of the Temple, on the second day of Passover, an omer of barley was brought as an offering.

Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu'ot, we recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in weeks and days. On the 12th day, we say "Today is twelve days, which is one weeks and five days of the Omer."

Counting reminds us that Passover, which memorializes the Exodus, and Shavu'ot, which remembers the giving of the Torah, are connected. We remember our redemption was not complete until we received the Torah.

This is a time of partial mourning, so weddings, parties and dinner dances are not permitted. Haircuts are also prohibited.


Omer Message from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi


"Oo-sfartem lahem: Do your counting for your sake." - Leviticus 23:15
"Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12
"And Abraham grew old, he came into days." - Genesis 24:1



Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav used to say, "When a person pays attention to what happens to him during the days of the Sefirah period, he soon becomes aware that all he sees and hears on that day is but the activity of that Sefirah and that it can serve to align him to God's blessed will." From the second night of Pesach to the night before Shavu'ot, we count the Omer.

Originally this Sefirah period was a way to punctuate the ripening barley's daily growth, until the Omer of ripened barley was brought as a sacrifice to the Temple in gratitude for the harvest. When we were no longer involved with farming, our sages ordered us to count, and this counting became a moral preparation for the Receiving of the Torah at Sinai.

As we go each day farther away from Egypt, we come closer to Sinai. By the time these ideas get further refined in the Zohar we are dealing with a movement from the 49 Gates of Defilement through the Gates of Understanding. Since have to count seven times seven weeks, the number is not accidental. There is a pattern which seven times seven produces of both cosmic and personal significance.

The Kabbalists taught us that the seven weeks represent the periods in which one or another of the Seven Holy Attributes represented by the seven names not to be erased appear in 49 different combinations. The attributes are listed in the following order: Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Nezah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut. The seven attributes correspond to the seven archetypal persons: Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David. The seven attributes are also modes: functioning (in Assiyah), feeling (in Yetzirah), understanding and well being (in B'riyah), and essence (in Atzilut). As such functions, they are the operations of the Seven Sefirot as manifested in us either on the side of holiness and order or on the side of defilement and chaos. They are virtues on the holy side and vices on the side of evil.

Accordingly each of 49 days of the Omer Period represents one of the possible combinations of the Divine Sefirot. The action directive is scrutinizeeach day for the lessons it teaches on how to purify and harmonize the mode of that day to be in consonance with the attunement that the Divine sefirah offers on that day. In this way, one fulfills the mitzvah of "U-sfartem Lahem." A person counts all the lights and attributes needed to leave Egypt behind and to come closer to Sinai.

To number one's days means to make them count so that one does not sleep through life without awareness.

"And Abraham grew old and came into days" is a blessing for all of us to become fully realized in the divine and human scheme of things. As Rabbi Shneur Zalman once said, "We have to live with the times." When pressed to say what he meant he said, "With the Sidrah of the week and the Sefirah of the day, you meet another God wrestler, and the two of you start comparing notes and you realize that you are both on the way to Sinai."


MAY GOD GRANT THAT WE FIND FELLOW PILGRIMS TO SINAI
AS WE COUNT THE DAYS ON THE WAY OUT FROM OUR EGYPTS
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