The first official Commentary post, coming later this week, will feature:
- A reflection on this year's Passover
- The significance of Sefirat Ha'Omer (counting of the days between Passover and Shavuot)
- Food traditions during these holidays and observances
Until then, tonight we mark the 23rd omer. In Hebrew, the word "omer" means "a measure," and refers to the traditional offering of the first of the new grain harvest, which was brought to the Temple on the second day of Passover. The Torah commands that there be seven weeks between the offering of the omer and Shavuot (the celebration of the receipt of the Torah at Sinai).
Jewish mystical tradition posits that there are "seven basic emotions that make up the spectrum of human experience." They are: Loving-kindness, justice and discipline, compassion/harmony, endurance, humility, bonding, and sovereignty/leadership. Each week between Passover and Shavuot is dedicated to one of these attributes, as is each day within each week. So on each day, we count an omer that represents two attributes for personal reflection.
The 23rd omer, also known as Gevurah of Netzach, or Discipline in Endurance, requires us to reflect on the focus of our endurance in pursuing goals. Are our goals positive or negative? Do they help us develop good habits and break bad ones? Personally, I'm reflecting on my tendency to procrastinate and how it negatively affects my ability to focus and be productive.
When counting the omer, we start with this blessing:
BA-RUCH A-TAH ADO-NAI E-LO-HE-NU ME-LECH HA-OLAM ASHER KID-E-SHA-NU BE-MITZ-VO-TAV VETZI-VA-NU AL SEFI-RAT HA-OMER.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.