היום יום אחד בעמר
Today is the first day of the omer
A day of loving kindness in a week of loving kindness
Today starts the period of the omer--a 49 day period of counting each day from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavuot. For those unfamiliar with this Jewish ritual, I recommend this article by Rabbi Jill Jacobs on MyJewishLearning.com for a good nuts-and-bolts overview of the ritual. As you will notice in the header to this post, which will occur in all subsequent omer posts, I use the kabbalistic method of marking each day, using 7 of the 10 of the Sephirot, the emanations, forces, emotions which, according to those mystics, are connections between us and God. Each week has a sephira; each day has a sephira. In the 49 days we get every pair combination. Explanations of the Sephirot can be found here and here; here you will find an overview of using them for the omer count. Feel free to search around for other sources but please, as with all internet searches, be mindful of who is putting out the information.
I also use this time as a writing practice, adding a blog post each day. As I need to remind myself each year on this first day of chesed she b'chesed--a double day of loving kindness, the practice is simply to write. It doesn't have to be award-winning or incredibly insightful--it just has to be. That is why it's called a practice. Like the counting itself, performing the ritual is its own reward. And like much of Jewish practice, fulfillment will come from the doing of the action--even if it takes a while to become evident.
I have one more thought to end this 5774/2014 inaugural post. It's something that now seems so obvious but just occurred to me as I began to think about this year's writings. This blog is an account of my thoughts with some stories of my life. An account --- a (c) count. A reckoning in words rather than numbers. And of course, that is its origin, from Old French to Anglo-French to Middle English to today.
So it seems that my adding this writing element is not just an overlay to the ritual, but emanates from within.