Counting the Omer

In the days of the Temple, Passover marked the ripening of barley by offering a special measure called an omer. The forty-nine day omer count begins on the second day of Passover in preparation to receive the Torah on Shavuot.

Jewish mystics use seven of the ten divine attributes to contemplate the count in terms of our personal and moral growth. There are books and web sites to help you follow along to this outline:

Counting the Omer

Counting the Omer

  1. Chesed of Chesed: generosity vs. lack of boundaries
  2. Gevruah of Chesed: strength that enables generosity
  3. Tiferet of Chesed: compassion of generosity
  4. Netzach of Chesed: perseverance in generous
  5. Hod of Chesed: sincerity of generosity
  6. Yesod of Chesed: connecting to the task of being generous
  7. Malchut of Chesed: accepting and including generosity
  8. Chesed of Gevurah: kindness in strength
  9. Gevurah of Gevurah: strength vs. rigidity
  10. Tiferet of Gevurah: balance and mercy with strength
  11. Netzach of Gevurah: persistence with strength
  12. Hod of Gevurah: surrender as an expression of strength
  13. Yesod of Gevurah: focused intention applied with strength
  14. Malchut of Gevurah: receptivity as an expression of strength
15-21.
Each sephirah, Chesed, Gevorah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut applied to Tiferet: compassion
22-28.
Each sephirah, Chesed, Gevorah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut applied Netzah: perseverance
29-35.
Each sephirah, Chesed, Gevorah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut applied to Hod: surrender
36-42.
Each sephirah, Chesed, Gevorah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut applied to Yesod: intention and connection
43-49.
Each sephirah, Chesed, Gevorah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut applied to Malchut: receptivity and nurturance

Ritualwell, a project of Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies of RRC and Ma’yan, the Jewish Women’s Project offer feminist resources and rituals to count the omer: The Kolot Egalitarian Omer Calendar and An Omer Calendar of Biblical Women By Rabbi Jill Hammer which offers this female version of the daily omer prayer:

Beruchah at yah, eloheinu ruach haolam, asher kidshatnu bemitzvoteha vetzivatnu al sefirat ha’omer.

Blessed are You, God, Ruler/Spirit of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.

May we move out from our narrow constrictions to a more authentic life.



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