Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The cycle continues...the counting begins...

היום יום אחד בעמר
Today is the first day of the omer
חסד שבחסד
A day of loving kindness in a week of loving kindness

With all good intentions, I meant to have this wonderful introductory post all written and ready to post last night after coming home from seder and my first night of counting the omer. While I managed a tweet--a new element added to the ritual this year, I'm feeling a bit stuck and almost nervous to start the writing practice. But like the Jewish yearly holiday cycle, the time comes and the ritual begins, ready or not. And that, one could say, is the beauty of following the cycle--you learn the practice is in the doing...the rest will follow.

For those who are new to this practice, I recommend you read this article by Rabbi Jill Jacobs. It gives a good basic explanation of the ritual along with the nuts and bolts of how to perform it. It is a counting time of 49 days starting on the second day of Passover and leading to the 50th day, which is Shavuot. It is a biblical commandment which was then adapted into rabbinical Judaism.

The Kabbalists added a layer by taking the 7 Sephirot -- emanations, illuminations, attributes that connect God, the Transcendent, to humans. For a bit more on this in a dogma-free manner, read this article from David Cooper. Each day of the week is one sephirah; each week is a sephirah. In the course of 49 days we encounter every combination of a particular day in a particular week. It can serve on a conscious, guided meditation on life as we count from Pesach to Shavuot -- from liberation to revelation.

This will be the 7th year that I have added my own ritual to the practice. I pledge to write each day. What I write is up to me. There doesn't have to be a thread, although there are years I've tried that. Sometimes my theme matches the sephirot of the day, sometimes not. The writings certainly aren't always stellar--but that's not the point. There just needs to be an entry, a counting, some words to mark the day.

There are friends who come on this journey with me in one way or another. Since I post the count and a link each day on Facebook, for some it's a helpful reminder to continue their own count. Others check in the blog from time to time; others read each day--with a shout out of love to my dad, who is my most faithful reader.

This year I'm added a tweet each night with the count--although the writing will mostly take place the next day. If you'd like to get those tweets, you can find me at @mdivah  

So, welcome to Omer5773. And appreciate that we start, as always, on a day of double loving-kindness.

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