Happy Passover one and all. I hope your Seder was joyful and yummy too.
Tonight many will celebrate a second seder but what makes tonight so different is the counting of the omer. It begins on the second night of Passover and culminates 50 days later in our next festival of Shavuot. Each night (or the next day) we count off marking the passing of time in anticipation of the gift of Torah at Mt. Sinai. We are waiting for the Divine Revelation.
This spiritual practice of counting the Omer (an omer is a measure of barley) is commanded in the Torah.
You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days… You shall convoke on this very day — there shall be a holy convocation for yourselves — you shall do no laborious work; it is an eternal decree in your dwelling places for your generations. -Leviticus 21:15-16, 21
For seven weeks we count each day. The mystics help us count by invoking aspects of the Divine each day and each week.
The seven aspects of God are
Gevurah=Justice and Discipline
Tiferet=Harmony and Beauty
Netzach=Endurance or Eternal
Each of the seven weeks are dedicated to these in this order and each day of the week is dedicated to these in order. So tonight the first night is Chesed in Chesed. It is a night of loving kindness in lovingkindness. Tonight focus your heart, your soul, your essence on the totality of love. Love of self, love of family and friends, love of life, love of God. Love in the face of hate or hurt. Receive it and give it freely.
Tomorrow night will be Gevurah in Chesed. Justice or Discipline in love. Think about how we express love and the boundaries it requires. It takes practice to love and takes patience to love.
Thursday night will be Tiferet in Chesed or beauty in Lovingkindness. Beauty is not just the superficial beauty but beauty of the soul. How will you express this idea of beauty in lovingkindness-through gentleness? Through consistancy? Beauty in lovingkindness in the poignant opprotunity to help someone achieve their goals. Help some one out today from a place of selfless love.
So you can see how this unfolds. The next day is Netzach in Chesed and then Hod in Chesed, then Sunday is Yesod in Chesed and Monday night is Malchut in Chesed. Then we will have completed the first week and on to the next week’s counting which will be defined by Gevurah!
And onward toward the fiftieth day and Shavuot.
So are you ready to count? Ready to practice a different kind of spiritual discipline and ready to give and receive at a deep soul level? Get counting!