Omer Journal 5768/2008
[img_assist|nid=198|title=Omer Counting Sefirot Scheme|desc=|link=url|url=http://everydayandeverynight.com/image/view/198/_original|align=left|width=500|height=146]
I'm launching my journal again for 5768/2008.
In this omer journal, I take a Jewish-mythic point-of-view which presumes that I, personally, together with all Jews past, present and future, left Egypt and stood at Mt. Sinai together. This perspective challenges each Jew to join the Jewish experience and not be limited by the actual historical time period in which one lives. This perspective places human imagination at the center of religious engagement.
Our leaving Egypt is only the beginning of our path to liberation. Free from the bonds of Pharaoh, we seek a better, more human life. We begin this journey by the shores of the Nile. We look back in awe at a sea now appearing normal after having miraculously parted. But what now?
What law will replace Pharoah's law? What kind of society will replace one founded on slavery?
Each year we count forty-nine days from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, in which we celebrate the spring harvests and the receiving of the Torah. On the 50th day we arrive at Mt. Sinai, ready to receive the Torah—again.
Will we be ready? What needs to occur within us, individually, in order for the transformation from slavery to liberation to occur?
The kabbalists imagined that each of the 49 days that we count could have a purifying affect upon the person counting. Each day has a unique quality for healing a particular aspect of our personality. The aspect of personality set for each day is determined by using the kabbalistic system of sefirot.
The kabbalists attempted to describe God via 10 emanations, or sefirot (literally "countings"). Many metaphors are used to explain these emanations. One metaphor is that of a tree of life whose roots are in the heavens and whose branches reach toward the earth. The qualities of these emanations flow from Ein Sof (without end, sometimes referred to as keter, crown&emdash;there are many different names for each one of the emanations), an aspect of the divine that is so removed from our own finitude and experience that attempts to describe it are generally not attempted. From Ein Sof, different emanations are ledges on a waterflow of divine light that overflow and move toward our world. The pool at the bottom of this waterfall, the top leaves on the upside down tree symbolize the lowest sefirah, called malchut, which is sometimes described as the shechina the immanent aspect of God that lives within each person.
The kabbalists applied the seven "lower" sefirot to the counting of the omer. They said that each of the seven weeks stood for one of these seven sefirot. In addition, each day of each week cycled through the same seven sefirot.
My intention is to write journal entries for as many days of the omer counting as I can. My approach is to meditate on the particular combination of sefirot assigned to each day and to find a connection to my life, usually illustrated with a photo that I've taken that somehow connects to that day of the omer.
I invite your comment and responses, and most welcome connections to your own life that emerge from my writing or from your own meditation on the sefirot of the day.
Moadim l'simcha. May these days of the Passover holiday celebration be one of joy!