Counting the Omer – A Spiritual Practice to Treasure Your Days

Counting the Omer is a simple spiritual practice that reminds us to count each day – and make each day count. It can be as simple as literally counting (usually by reciting the traditional blessing) or it can become a more elaborate practice involving the spiritual qualities of the Tree of Life. However it’s done, it is a way to be mindful, to cultivate awareness and gratitude. It is a time for inner growth.   Please join the Chochmat HaLev community this year as Chochmat Counts!

Counting the Omer is a commandment in the Torah (Leviticus 23:15-16). It stems from ancient times when a sheaf of barley, known as an “omer” was brought to the Temple for the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot as a blessing to insure the harvest to come.

Today there is no Jerusalem Temple and barley sheaves are hard to find. But the core of this ancient practice is available to anyone who wants a tool of focus and intention for the 49 days between the second night of Pesach, our time of Liberation, until Shavuot, our time of Revelation.

The Kabbalists transformed the Omer counting into a means of personal journey and transformation. Each week has a spiritual focus based on the Tree of Life, and each day of the week invites attention to an aspect of that focus. These spiritual qualities are:

Week 1:   Chesed – loving-kindness
Week 2:   Gevurah – strenghth/judgment/discipline
Week 3:   Tiferet – harmony/compassion/beauty
Week 4:   Netzach – perseverence/enthusiasm
Week 5:   Hod – humility/gratitude
Week 6:   Yesod – foundation/stability
Week 7:   Malchut – majesty/divine presence

Counting the Omer in the Kabbalist and Jewish Renewal tradition is an easily accessible, flexible, and creative practice. We invite you to join the community this year because Chochmat Counts!

How to Count the Omer – Basic

Counting the Omer in the traditional way involves saying the blessing and stating the day of the Omer that is being counted. You can find that blessing here.

The most important thing is to count, ideally with intention/reflection (kavenah). Simply counting reminds us that everything passes. It strengthens our ability to be in the moment, to be grateful, and to let go.

There are many resources to help you count – both hard copy and apps. There are also many beautiful books to provide inspiration or describing practices. You can find those resources here.

 How to Count the Omer – Creative

Many of us learned to count the Omer at Chochmat HaLev. And we’ve learned that there are limitless ways to expand on each day’s spiritual focus by adding other practices.

Come to our Chochmat Counts! Classes and experience the richness of the 49 days.

In addition, there are many things you can do to get the most out of the 49 days of the Omer as a period of mindfulness, a time of personal spiritual refinement. Each of these activities can be done with a focus on the day’s particular spiritual qualities:

daily meditation
journal writing
art project
poetry writing
movement, yoga, dance practice

Chochmat Counts – A Community Project

 At Chochmat, we believe that everyone counts. You are part of what it takes to make us a community. You will soon get information on other ways that you can contribute to our efforts. In whatever way you can, please join us this year as Chochmat Counts!