Counting of the Omer (Hebrew: ספירת העומר, Sefirat HaOmer, sometimes abbreviated as Sefira or the Omer) is an important verbal counting of each of the forty-nine days between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot as stated in the Hebrew Bible: Leviticus 23:15–16. The period of the counting of the Omer is considered to be a time of potential for inner growth – for a person to work on one’s good characteristics (middot) through
reflection and development of one aspect each day for the 49 days of the counting. Upon concluding these 49 days, we arrive to the fiftieth day – Mattan Torah, when one has fully achieved inner renewal by merit of having assessed and developed each of the 49
attributes. — adapted from Wikipedia and other
Participation in Sefirat HaOmer is certainly not restricted to Jews! And whether an individual has accomplished the great annual cycle of the Count once or many times, it can be a challenge or, perhaps, an ordeal! But it is always, invariably, inevitably an opportunity. For the enterprising spirit who is learning to live by living to learn, the Count is a voyage of revelation, rectification, revitalization, and recreation.
Depending upon the individual participating in the process or cycle in tandem with the chosen approach and guide, the Count can range in intensity from a superficially executed excursion in ritual to a forensic examination of one’s very being. The most typical approach to the Count is a dynamic survey of one’s emotional nature in context of current day-to-day living, keyed to the framework of the number Seven.
As 33 Gateway Lane participants know, “Counting to 50” is keyed to FOUR performed in concert with the Pirkei Avot. This classic work is a guidebook on ethics; at least as far back as the 10th century, it has been customary to study Pirkei Avot during the Sefirat HaOmer. Accordingly, “Counting to 50” at 33 Gateway Lane entails the enterprising spirit systematically exploring and assessing the 50 elements of the seder ha’hishtalshelut (“chain of being”) — the nature of soul and the fourfold nature of the human being — in conjunction with ethical behavior as examined in Pirkei Avot and the 50 middot (virtues or values) listed in the last chapter of Pirkei Avot.
“Counting to 50” entails a handful of overarching, interwoven propositions:
SOUL: “The Untold Want / By Life and Land Ne’er Granted / Now, Voyager / Sail Thou Forth to Seek and Find.” — Walt Whitman
INTUITION: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” — Gospel of Thomas
INTELLECT: “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue that never sallies out to see its adversary.” — Milton
EMOTION: “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” — Carl Jung
INSTINCT: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” — Spencer Johnson
The traditional Omer includes actually counting 49 days — the fiftieth day comprising the Mattan Torah is not traditionally included in the counting process; it is assumed, acknowledged. As 33 Gateway Lane participants know and understand, the 33 Gateway Lane “Counting to 50” does specifically include counting 50.
The Mattan Torah — Day 50 — is a day of receiving, celebration, rejoicing — and a point of orientation for moving forward with an expanded conscious awareness entailing a greater degree of integration and mastery.
Let us count Day 50.
Blessed are you, ADONAI, our God, the sovereign of all worlds, who has made us holy with your mitzvot and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer. Today is the fiftieth day of the counting of 50 days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.
SO BE IT !
33GL Counting to 50 Workgroup:
Don’t forget to stop by the 33 Gateway Lane Mattan Torah Party Room!