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Counting the Omer with Chassidus
What is an omer and why do we keep counting it?
By Shlomo Phillips © April 14, 2015 (last updeated May 22, 2015)

During the festival I post the daily Omer on my Facebook Page as part of my observance.

The following explains this biblical observance and related insights.

"Counting the Omer" is Torah Mitzvah 127: To count forty-nine days from the time of the cutting of the Omer (first sheaves of the barley harvest). There are various counts of the 613 mitzvot).
And you shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day from the day you bring the omer as a wave offering seven weeks; they shall be complete.

You shall count until the day after the seventh week, [namely,] the fiftieth day, [on which] you shall bring a new meal offering to the Lord -- Leviticus 23:15,16

From Chabad:

From the second night of Passover until the day before the holiday of Shavuot, the Jewish people engage in an unique mitzvah called Sefirat HaOmer (counting of the Omer). The Torah commands us that during this time each year we count seven complete weeks, for a total of 49 days. At the end of the seven-week period we celebrate Shavuot, which means “weeks.”

This is considered a mitzvah, so the count, which takes place each night, is preceded by a blessing. However, we may recite the blessing only if we have not missed a single day’s counting. If we have omitted the counting even one night during that stretch (and did not make it up during the daytime without reciting the blessing), we may no longer recite the blessing, but instead must listen as a friend says the blessing and then do the counting...

Why do we count these days? We learn several reasons. The foremost is that the count demonstrates our thrill for the impending occasion of receiving the Torah, celebrated on Shavuot. Just as a child often counts the days until the end of school or an upcoming family vacation, we count the days to show our excitement at again receiving the Torah (as we do in fact receive the Torah in a renewed sense every year).

We also learn that this period is meant to spiritually prepare and refine ourselves. When the Jewish people were in Egypt nearly 3,400 years ago, they had assimilated many of the immoral ways of the Egyptian people. The Jews had sunk to an unprecedented level of spiritual defilement, and were on the brink of destruction. At the last possible moment, the children of Israel were miraculously redeemed. They underwent a spiritual rebirth and quickly ascended to the holiest collective state they had ever reached. They were so holy, in fact, that they were compared to angels when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah.

It was during that 49-day period that they underwent such a radical transformation. From the lowest lows to the highest heights in just seven weeks! The commandments of the Torah are not meant merely as our history, but instead represent on ongoing life lesson for every Jew. We view the Torah as freshly received every day of our lives, and approach it and its commandments with appropriate vigor.
So too must we digest the lesson of the counting of the Omer. It is specifically during this time that we strive to grow and mature in our spiritual state. The Torah does not allow us to become satisfied with our current level of spirituality. Instead it tells us to set high goals for ourselves, and then methodically strive to reach that goal.

The growth that occurs during this time is akin to a marathon. We pace ourselves and seek to improve day by day until we reach the day that we again receive the Torah. In this process, we look deep within ourselves and work on all of our negative attributes. If we are challenged in the realm of acts of kindness, we go out of our way to do more charitable works. If we are lacking in the area of justice, we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards and are exacting and demanding in our personal behavior and habits. And so it goes for all of our traits -- by Yeruchem Eilfort

The Omer

Our counting has deeper meanings as well.

There Are Four "Worlds:"

Our physical world consists of two components -- the celestial and the terrestrial. The "celestial" includes the stars and planets, the physical heavens. The "terrestrial" is our realm, the physical earth. These combined comprise our physical "world." What we can see with eyes (including through telescopes etc). In our pride we usually think our world is endless and supreme, but in truth it is only a minor realm within a truly limitless expanse.

"Above" our realm is the world of the angels and other similar entities. This realm is much "larger" than ours.

"Higher" and more expansive than that is the third world, the realm of the Higher Forces. This is known as the World of the Throne (or the Merkabah -- the Chariot Throne referenced by Prophet Yechezkel (Ezekiel) in chapter one of the book bearing his name.

The above words are all teaming with diverse "entities," with individualized life.

"Higher" still is the realm that can only be called a "world" in a general sense. This "realm" transcends all description and encompasses realities we can only speak of in philosophical, allegorical, terms because its reality is so far beyond our finite comprehension. This is the realm of Divine Influences that emanate from the Holy ONE (Blessed be He!). These are revelations or emanations of HIS Light from which all exists and comes to be. This is the World of God. Although again the term "world" does not really apply in any practical sense.

The Influences emanating from the Holy ONE can not be considered "entities" nor are "they" distinguishable in any way. They are not individual phenomena, rather we might better consider "them" as spectrum of the Or Chadash or Sacred Light that emanates from the Holy ONE according to His Will. Through these 'spectrum' of Sacred Light The Holy ONE bestows existence, both particular and universal, to the creations according to their diverse natures. Not all realms are the same, not all the entities are the same. HaShem provides to each according it own nature and needs through the emanations of His Light.

The Emanations are One and yet can be categorized or conceptualized even as music is one and yet consists of diverse notes. Related to this concept is the Ten Utterances referenced in the first chapter of Bereshit-Genesis when the Elohim "said" "Let there be... and there was." The graphic to the right shows a tzaddik (a pious one) pondering Torah and realizing the Ten Emanations (Sephirot) of the his being. These emanations exist both as the microcosm and macrocosm of existence. This is conceived as the "Palace" or "House" of Adam Kadmon (original or primordial man), humanity and its potential. By actualizing the individual emanations of the Tree of Life we "climb" higher and higher as we align ourselves more and more completely with the Holy ONE (Blessed be He!).

As there are four worlds, so too there are four "trees." As one spiritually ascends or progresses, "Kether becomes Malkuth of the next order" and the process towards 'enlightenment' or at-one-ment with the Divine Light of the Or Chadash progresses and we become ever more 'attached' to the Holy ONE -- Who alone is our Source and our Destination (Tehillim/Psalms 82). This process is what is being referenced in the counting of the Omer as, for instance, Day Three of Week 2 of the count: Tiferet of Gevurah. The personal unification of these emanations.

For more on this topic see my study here.

For information on Shavu'ot see my study here

Warning

Having presented this very basic level of information in what I hope is an understandable fashion, I must also offer a serious warning as well:

While there is a vast wealth of wisdom and potential in studying these sorts of mystical Jewish topics, there is also serious potential danger. Just as religions and diverse sects of "replacement theologies" have arisen seeking to replace the Jewish people and hoping to usurp the Jewish Covenant with HaShem (I speak here of the two largest religions and the innumerable sub-sects), so too there are a LOT of counterfeit group selling "Kabbalah" by various names. These groups need to be avoided at all cost!

The real knowledge of these topics come with strict rules about teacher and student qualifications, applications, and so on. The websites that claim to be teaching the "historic," "New Age," "Practical" Kabbalah etc are not to be trusted. To study these ancient Jewish topics one needs to be Jewish [this is not for the other nations] and very well versed in Torah, Tanach, Mishna, Talmud, etc. Plus one needs to be Torah Observant and to regularly be engaged in hitbodedut (personal, secluded regular prayer time with HaShem). One needs to be learning one on one or in a small group with a well trained Rav who is experienced and knowledgeable in these topics and who possesses the applicable traits. Proper training in the these areas is beyond the kin of most Jews, even more rabbis. This negates anything you find on the internet other than basic descriptions such as this. While there are a couple of better sources online, such as CHABAD's Kabbalah Online, please understand that this is not a field to be lightly dallying with. My personal suggestion is to focus on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman. He includes a lot of this material in his teachings and stories that will present these truths in ways that are uplifting and beneficial to ones spiritual development.

Pesach: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread

Lag B'Omer:

Shavu'ot: Pentecost: the Festival of Weeks, Hag ha-Bikkurim -- the Festival of First Fruits, Hag Matan Torateinu -- Festival of the Giving of Torah

Pesach reminds us of the slavery the Jews left with the Exodus and Shavu'ot reminds us of the freedom we received by the giving of Torah.

While the counting of the omer is only required of Jews, everyone can be benefit from the wisdom expressed in the daily counting and the encouragement of soul searching expressed through the applications of the Emanations.

We first recite the blessing:

(Note the variation indicated by "ba-omer" (or "la-omer") which refers to the two traditional texts in use for the Sefirat HaOmer.In one translation, “ba,” the preposition is “in” as in “in the count of the Omer.” In the other, “la,” the preposition has the meaning “of ” as in “of the Omer count.”

In the translation below, we have used the “of” form, corresponding to “la,” but in this technical matter of custom, (“ba” or “la”?), one should follow the practice of his or her community.)

Then each day we count the day:

The seven emotional attributes of each day are:

  1. Chesed - Loving-kindness
  2. Gevurah -- Justice and discipline
  3. Tiferet - Harmony, compassion
  4. Netzach - Endurance
  5. Hod - Humility
  6. Yesod - Bonding
  7. Malchut - Sovereignty, leadership

The Count

1 Ha-yom yom e-chad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is one day of the Omer

2 Ha-yom sh’nay yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is two days of the Omer

3 Ha-yom sh’losha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is three days of the Omer

4 Ha-yom arba-a yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is four days of the Omer

5 Ha-yom chami-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is five days of the Omer

6 Ha-yom shi-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is six days of the Omer

7 Ha-yom shiv-a yamim, shehaym
shavu-a e-chad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is seven days,
which are one week of the Omer

8 Ha-yom sh’mona yamim, shehaym
shavu-a e-chad v’yom e-chad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is eight days, which are
one week and one day of the Omer

9 Ha-yom tish-a yamim, shehaym
shavu-a e-chad ushnay yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is nine days, which are
one week and two days of the Omer

10 Ha-yom asara yamim, shehaym
shavu-a echad ushlosha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is ten days, which are
one week and three days of the Omer

11 Ha-yom achad asar yom, shehaym
shavu-a echad v’arba-a yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is eleven days, which are
one week and four days of the Omer

12 Ha-yom sh’naym asar yom, shehaym
shavu-a echad vachami-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twelve days, which are
one week and five days of the Omer

13 Ha-yom sh’losha asar yom, shehaym
shavu-a echad v’shisha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirteen days, which are
one week and six days of the Omer

14 Ha-yom arba-a asar yom, shehaym
sh’nay shavuot ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is fourteen days, which are
two weeks of the Omer

15 Ha-yom chami-sha asar yom, shehaym
sh’nay shavuot v’yom echad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is fifteen days, which are
two weeks and one day of the Omer

16 Ha-yom shi-sha asar yom, shehaym
sh’nay shavuot ushnay yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is sixteen days, which are
two weeks and two days of the Omer

17 Ha-yom shiva asar yom, shehaym
sh’nay shavuot ushlosha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is seventeen days, which are
two weeks and three days of the Omer

18 Ha-yom shemonah asar yom, shehaym
sh’nay shavuot v’arba-a yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is eighteen days, which are
two weeks and four days of the Omer

19 Ha-yom tisha asar yom, shehaym
sh’nay shavuot va’chamisha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is nineteen days, which are
two weeks and five days of the Omer

20 Ha-yom esrim yom, shehaym
sh’nay shavuot v’shi-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty days, which are
two weeks and six days of the Omer

21 Hayom e-chad v’esrim yom, shehaym
shlosha shavuot ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-one days, which are
three weeks of the Omer

22 Ha-yom sh’nayim v’esrim yom, shehaym
shelosha shavuot v’yom echad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-two days, which are
three weeks and one day of the Omer

23 Ha-yom sh’losha v’esrim yom, shehaym
shelosha shavuot ushnay yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-three days, which are
three week and two days of the Omer

24 Ha-yom arba-a v’esrim yom, shehaym
shelosha shavuot u’shelosha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-four days, which are
three weeks and three days of the Omer

25 Ha-yom chami-sha v’esrim yom, shehaym
shelosha shavuot v’arba-a yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-five days, which are
three weeks and four days of the Omer

26 Ha-yom shi-sha v’esrim yom, shehaym
shelosha shavuot va-chamisha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-six days, which are
three weeks and five days of the Omer

27 Ha-yom shiva v’esrim yom, shehaym
shelosha shavuot v’shi-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-seven days, which are
three weeks and six days of the Omer

28 Ha-yom shemonah v’esrim yom, shehaym
arba-a shavuot ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-eight days, which are
four weeks of the Omer

29 Ha-yom tisha v’esrim yom, shehaym
arba-a shavuot v’yom e-chad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is twenty-nine days, which are
four weeks and one day of the Omer

30 Ha-yom shloshim yom, shehaym
arba-a shavuot ushnay yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty days, which are
four weeks and two days of the Omer

31 Hayom e-chad u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
arba-a shavuot u’shelosha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-one days, which are
four weeks and three days of the Omer

32 Ha-yom sh’nayim u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
arba-a shavuot v’arba-a yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-two days, which are
four weeks and four days of the Omer

——————————————————————————–

33 Ha-yom sh’losha u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
arba-a shavuot vachamisha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)

*** Lag Ba’Omer ***

Today is thirty-three days, which are
four weeks and five days of the Omer

——————————————————————————–

34 Ha-yom arba-a u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
arba-a shavuot v’shi-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-four days, which are
four weeks and six days of the Omer

35 Ha-yom chami-sha u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
chami-sha shavuot ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-five days, which are
five weeks of the Omer

36 Ha-yom shi-sha u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
chami-sha shavuot v’yom echad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-six days, which are
five weeks and one day of the Omer

37 Ha-yom shiva u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
chami-sha shavuot ushnay yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-seven days, which are
five weeks and two days of the Omer

38 Ha-yom shemonah u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
chami-sha shavuot u’shelosha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-eight days, which are
five weeks and three days of the Omer

39 Ha-yom tisha u’sheloshim yom, shehaym
chami-sha shavuot va’arba-a yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is thirty-nine days, which are
five weeks and four days of the Omer

40 Ha-yom arba-im yom, shehaym
chami-sha shavuot va’chamisha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty days, which are
five weeks and five days of the Omer

41 Hayom e-chad v’arbaim yom, shehaym
chami-sha shavuot v’shi-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-one days, which are
five weeks and six days of the Omer

42 Ha-yom sh’nayim v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shi-sha shavuot ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-two days, which are
six weeks of the Omer

43 Ha-yom sh’losha v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shi-sha shavuot v’yom e-chad ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-three days, which are
six weeks and one day of the Omer

44 Ha-yom arba-a v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shi-sha shavuot ushnay yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-four days, which are
six weeks and two days of the Omer

45 Ha-yom chami-sha v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shi-sha shavuot u’shelosha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-five days, which are
six weeks and three days of the Omer

46 Ha-yom shi-sha v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shi-sha shavuot v’arba-a yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-six days, which are
six weeks and four days of the Omer

47 Ha-yom shiva v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shi-sha shavuot va’chami-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)

Today is forty-seven days, which are
six weeks and five days of the Omer

48 Ha-yom shemonah v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shi-sha shavuot v’shi-sha yamim ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-eight days, which are
six weeks and six days of the Omer

49 Ha-yom tisha v’arbaim yom, shehaym
shiv-a shavuot ba-omer (or la-omer)
Today is forty-nine days, which are
seven weeks of the Omer

The Emanations

Day One: Chesed of chesed
1st Day of the Omer

Day Two: Gevurah of Chesed
2nd Day of the Omer

Day Three: Tiferet of Chesed
3rd Day of the Omer

Day Four: Netzach of Chesed
4th Day of the Omer

Day Five: Hod of Chesed
5th Day of the Omer

Day Six: Yesod of Chesed
6th Day of the Omer

Day Seven: Malchut of Chesed
7th Day of the Omer


Day One of Week 2: Chesed of Gevurah
8th Day of the Omer


Day Two of Week 2: Gevurah of Gevurah
9th Day of the Omer


Day Three of Week 2: Tiferet of Gevurah
10th Day of the Omer


Day Four of Week 2: Netzach of Gevurah
11th Day of the Omer


Day Five of Week 2: Hod of Gevurah
12th Day of the Omer


Day Six of Week 2: Yesod of Gevurah
13th Day of the Omer


Day Seven of Week 2: Malchut of Gevurah
14th Day of the Omer


Day One of Week 3: Chesed of Tiferet
15th Day of the Omer


Day Two of Week 3: Gevurah of Tiferet
16th Day of the Omer


Day Three of Week 3: Tiferet of Tiferet
17th Day of the Omer


Day Four of Week 3: Netzach of Tiferet
18th Day of the Omer


Day Five of Week 3: Hod of Tiferet
19th Day of the Omer


Day Six of Week 3: Yesod of Tiferet
20th Day of the Omer


Day Seven of Week 3: Malchut of Tiferet
21st Day of the Omer


Day One of Week 4: Chesed of Netzach
22nd Day of the Omer


Day Two of Week 4: Gevurah of Netzach
23rd Day of the Omer


Day Three of Week 4: Tiferet of Netzach
24th Day of the Omer


Day Four of Week 4: Netzach of Netzach
25th Day of the Omer


Day Five of Week 4: Hod of Netzach
26th Day of the Omer


Day Six of Week 4: Yesod of Netzach
27th Day of the Omer


Day Seven of Week 4: Malchus of Netzach
28th Day of the Omer


Day One of Week 5: Chesed of Hod
29th Day of the Omer


Day Two of Week 5: Gevurah of Hod
30th Day of the Omer


Day Three of Week 5: Tiferet of Hod
31st Day of the Omer


Day Four of Week 5: Netzach of Hod
32nd Day of the Omer


——————————————————————————–



Day Five of Week 5: Hod of Hod

Lag BaOmer- 33rd Day of the Omer

——————————————————————————–

Day Six of Week 5: Yesod of Hod
34th Day of the Omer


Day Seven of Week 5: Malchut of Hod
35th Day of the Omer


Day One of Week 6: Chesed of Yesod
36th Day of the Omer


Day Two of Week 6: Gevurah of Yesod
37th Day of the Omer


Day Three of Week 6: Tiferet of Yesod
38th Day of the Omer


Day Four of Week 6: Netzach of Yesod
39th Day of the Omer


Day Five of Week 6: Hod of Yesod
40th Day of the Omer


Day Six of Week 6: Yesod of Yesod
41st Day of the Omer


Day Seven of Week 6: Malchut of Yesod
42nd Day of the Omer


Day One of Week 7: Chesed of Malchut
43rd Day of the Omer


Day Two of Week 7: Gevurah of Malchut
44th Day of the Omer


Day Three of Week 7: Tiferet of Malchut
45th Day of the Omer


Day Four of Week 7: Netzach of Malchut
46th Day of the Omer


Day Five of Week 7: Hod of Malchut
47th Day of the Omer


Day Six of Week 7: Yesod of Malchut
48th Day of the Omer


Day Seven of Week 7: Malchut of Malchut
49th Day of the Omer

 



Sources considered: Breslov.org, Orthodox Union, Chabad. Aish.com, MyJewishLearning.com


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