Counting Up

rabbis header shabbatלִמְנוֹת יָמֵינוּ כֵּן הוֹדַע וְנָבִא לְבַב חׇכְמָה׃

Limnot yameinu, kein hoda v’navi l’vav hochmah.

Teach us to treasure each day, that we may open our hearts to Your wisdom.

-Psalm 90:12

In our Jewish calendar, we are now approaching the halfway mark of our ascent to Mount Sinai. We are 22 days in to our period of counting up, marking each of the forty-nine days between Pesach and Shavuot. This period of Sefirat Ha’Omer (Counting of the Omer) corresponds to the beginning of the barley harvest in the land of Israel. We count the omer, which translates as “sheaf,” commemorating the sheaves of barley brought to the Temple as offerings of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. After the exile from Jerusalem, in a world without a central address for bringing bundles of grain, Medieval mystics understood these weeks of counting as a time ripe for spiritual growth and preparation for receiving Torah.

Kabbalistic writings link each of the forty-nine days to a unique manifestation of aspects of the Divine that can be found within us and in the world around us. Each day is an opportunity to see the world in a new way, to notice the interplay of chesed (loving-kindness), gevurah (strength), tiferet (truth), netzach (resilience), hod (gratitude), yesod (connection) and malchut (majesty) in our lives.

May this period support us in pausing each day to pay attention to all that is happening inside us and beyond us.

As we open up to the possibility and blessing of each day, may we carve out new space for receiving Torah, wisdom and inspiration, to guide us on our way.

Shabbat Shalom!