What is "Counting the Omer"?
Counting the days between Pesach and Shavuot has been going on since the Torah (and probably before). It's the time when the viability of the major crops will be determined and it's both anxiety provoking and exciting to see the new crops coming in.
On the grand historic themes, it is that time between liberation (throwing out Pharoah's law) and revelation at Mt. Sinai at Shavuot (taking on God's law).
The kabbalists (12th - 18th century roughly) saw this as a good time for inner work and spiritual purification in preparation for receiving the Torah at Shavuot.
The kabbalistic system developed 10 sefirot (literally countings) or aspects of God's emanation or unfolding.
There are many different names and attributes for each of the sefirot. But here are some of the most common names for them:
3. Tiferet - Beauty/Royalty/Kingship
6. Yesod - Foundation
7. Malchut - Queenship, Closeness of God.
The kabbalists took the seven weeks of the omer counting and assigned one sefira from the lower seven sefirot to each of the weeks. Then within each week, you have one of the seven for each day. 7 x's 7 = the 49 days, theoretically relating to 49 aspects of our personalities and of our existence that need to be purified before we receive the Torah on Shavuot.
There aren't precise meanings about what the sefirot mean or about what their combinations mean. My omer calendar is an associative musing, based on what I know about the symbols of each sefira and what I know about my own life. There is nothing authoritative about what I'm saying. I'm simply engaging in the count and putting my life and my ideas in the context of the counting.
Enjoy! Note that at the top or bottom of each page there are links to the previous days (though I only started with day 29. It will take until next year for me to finish the whole thing.)
Please e-mail me at email@example.com with feedback on the site.
Rabbi Shai Gluskin