Monday, May 19, 2008

Omer 5768 - Day 29; 4 weeks and 1 day

Today is Chesed she b'Hod - a day of loving kindness in a week of humility.

While the counting of the omer does mark a passage of time from Passover to Shavuot, the ritual of the counting gives me an appreciation for each day. I don't think about how much time has passed or how much there is to go. I just treat each day on its own terms--the number just gives the day its name.

This came in handy when I was counting the omer in my year of cancer treatment. It was somewhat eerie how that whole experience was in sync with the Jewish sacred calendar. I was diagnosed during Hanukkah; I started chemotherapy on the first of Nissan--in the Torah, the first day of the year; I had my last infusion on the 49th day of the omer; and I finished radiation a couple of days before Rosh Hashanah.

Counting the omer in that year had special meaning for me. I didn't need to count the days until chemo was over--I just had to count each day. When the omer was done, so was that treatment. I didn't need any special calendar to tell me--I didn't need any more ritual. I just counted each day, noted the different characteristics brought to that day by the sephirot.

I'm glad to be six years removed from that time--quite frankly, I'm glad to be here counting once again. It's not something to take for granted--two of the women who went through treatment with me did not make it to see these days. While I don't want to spend my life counting each day, I'm glad to have this time to remind me how much each day counts.

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