Melrose B'nai Israel Emanu-El

The Little Shul with the Big Heart

8339 Old York Road , Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027
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Sefirat HaOmer

Omer Schedule for 5775-2015: Sefirat HaOmer

Sefirat HaOmer: An Introduction

by Simon Jacobson

With the mitzvah of counting the 49 days, known as Sefirat Ha’Omer, the Torah invites us on a journey into the human psyche, into the soul.

There are seven basic emotions that make up the spectrum of human experience. At the root of all forms of enslavement, is a distortion of these emotions. Each of the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot is dedicated to examining and refining one of them.

The seven emotional attributes are:

Chesed – Loving-kindness Week 1 of the Omer

Gevurah — Justice and Discipline Week 2 of the Omer

Tiferet – Harmony, Balance, Compassion Week 3 of the Omer

Netzach – Endurance Week 4 of the Omer

Hod – Humility Week 5 of the Omer

Yesod – Bonding, Generativity Week 6 of the Omer

Malchut – Sovereignty, Receptivity Week 7 of the Omer

The seven weeks, which represent these emotional attributes, further divide into seven days making up the 49 days of the counting. Since a fully functional emotion is multidimensional, it includes within itself a blend of all seven attributes. Thus, the counting of the first week, which begins on the second night of Pesach, as well as consisting of the actual counting (“Today is day one of the Omer…”) would consist of the following structure with suggested meditations:

Upon conclusion of the 49 days we arrive at the 50th day — Mattan Torah. After we have achieved all we can accomplish through our own initiative, traversing and refining every emotional corner of our psyche, we then receive a gift (‘mattan’ in Hebrew) from above. We receive that which we could not achieve with our own limited faculties. We receive the gift of true freedom — the ability to transcend our human limitations and touch the divine.