The Counting of the Omer
The seven-week (49-day) period between Passover and Shavuot is called the Omer. In the days of Ancient Israel the Jewish people would bring a barley offering to the Temple on the day after the Sabbath following Passover during the week of Unleavened Bread. (Leviticus 23:10). This was called the “Omer” (literally, “sheaf”) and in practical terms would permit the consumption of recently-harvested grains.
The Torah (Leviticus 23:15) says it is a mitzvah every day to “count the Omer” – the 50 days leading up to Shavuot. This is an important period of growth and introspection, in preparation for the holiday of Shavuot which arrives 50 days later.
“‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord.
We begin the Omer counting tonight April 3rd and then the omer is counted each evening after sundown for 50 consecutive days for 7 complete weeks.
What to Say
One stands when counting the omer, and begins by reciting the following blessing:
Barukh ata Adonai
Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam
asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav
v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the omer.
Today is the ______ day of the omer.
We have thus fulfilled the mitzvah of counting the Omer!
The practice of counting these 49 days in anticipation for Shavuot is called the Counting of the Omer. On the 50th day, Shavuot—which commemorates the Giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai—is celebrated. The Counting of the Omer not only builds anticipation for the holiday of Shavuot, but it is also a time of spiritual refinement and personal growth.
Below are daily Omer reflections for each of the 49 days of the counting. These reflections contain thoughts and exercises for personal character refinement and self-growth during this time period.
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 and sin 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
- Gevurah ― Strength in Justice and Discipline
- Tiferet ― Beauty in Harmony and Compassion
- Netzach ― Endurance and Persistance to Victory
- Hod ― Glorious Humility
- Yesod ― Foundational Bonding
- Malchut ― Sovereign Servant Leadership
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, would consist of the following structure with suggested meditations:
OMER WEEK 1: LOVING-KINDNESS (CHESED)
The world was built on loving-kindness. (Ps. 89:3)
Love is the single most powerful and necessary component in life. It is both giving and receiving. Love allows us to reach above and beyond ourselves, to experience another person and to allow that person to experience us. It is the tool by which we learn to experience the highest reality ― God. Examine the love aspect of your love.
Ask yourself: What is my capacity to love another person? Do I have problems with giving? Am I stingy or selfish? Is it difficult for me to let someone else into my life? Am I afraid of my vulnerability, of opening up and getting hurt?
Exercise for the day: Find a new way to express your love to a dear one.
Day 2 Meditation:
Today on Day 2 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we Meditate on how Gevurah (Strength of Character) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness), i.e. living out Discipline in Loving-kindness
Healthy love must always include an element of discipline and discernment; a degree of distance and respect for another’s boundaries; an assessment of another’s capacity to contain your love. Love must be tempered and directed properly…
Exercise for the day: Help someone on their terms not on yours. Apply yourself to their specific needs even if it takes effort.
Day 3 Meditation:
Today on Day 3 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we Meditate on how Tiferet (Beauty of Balance and Harmony) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness), i.e. The Beauty of living out Compassion and Harmony in Loving-kindness
Harmony in love is one that blends both the chesed and gevurah aspects of love. Harmonized love includes empathy and compassion. Love is often given with the expectation of receiving love in return. Compassionate love is given freely; expects nothing in return ― even when the other doesn’t deserve love. Tiferet is giving also to those who have hurt you.
Exercise for the day: Offer a helping hand or compliment to a stranger about how you see one of God’s characteristics in them.
Day 4 Meditation:
Today on Day 4 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we Meditate on how Netzach (Perserverance to Overcome) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness), i.e. how to live out Endurance in Loving-kindness.
Is my love enduring? Does it withstand challenges and setbacks? Do I give and withhold love according to my moods or is it constant regardless of the ups and downs of life?
Exercise for the day: Reassure a loved one of the constancy of your love
Day 5 Meditation:
Today on Day 5 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we Meditate on how Hod (Humble Glory) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness), i.e. how to live out Humility in Loving-kindness
You can often get locked in love and be unable to forgive your beloved or to bend or compromise your position. Hod introduces the aspect of humility in love; the ability to rise above yourself and forgive or give in to the one you love just for the sake of love even if you’re convinced that you’re right. Arrogant love is not love.
Exercise for the day: See if you can understand something from another person’s view whom you have disagreed with and seek to reconcile if you have quarreled.
Day 6 Meditation:
Today on Day 6 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we Meditate on how Chesed (Loving-kindness) correlates with Yesod (Foundational Bond), i.e. Bonding in Loving-kindness
For love to be eternal it requires bonding. A sense of togetherness which actualizes the love in a joint effort. An intimate connection, kinship and attachment, benefiting both parties. This bonding bears fruit; the fruit born out of a healthy union.
Exercise for the day: Start building something constructive together with a loved one see if you strengthen your bond!
Day 7 Meditation:
Today on Day 7 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we Meditate on how Chesed (Loving-kindness) correlates with Malchut (Servant Leadership and Individual Nobility)
Mature love comes with ― and brings ― personal dignity. An intimate recognition of nobility and respect for each individual. Knowing your special place and contribution in this world. Any love that is debilitating and breaks the human spirit is no love at all. For love to be complete it must have the dimension of personal sovereignty
Exercise for the day: Today recognize your unique way of expressing love, and use it to brighten someone else’s life!
OMER WEEK 2: (GEVURAH) DISCIPLINE, DISCERNMENT, STRENGTH
A sense of trust and protection come from healthy boundaries that function within our lives.
Day 8 Meditation:
Today on day 8 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Gevurah (Strength and discipline of Character) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness)
Starting week 2 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on Gevurah (Strength and Discipline of Character) and today we focus on how Gevurah (Strength and Discipline of Character) corresponds with Chesed (Loving-kindness).
The underlying intention and motive in discipline is love. Why do we measure our behavior, why do we establish standards and expect people to live up to them ― only because of love. Chesed of gevurah is the love in discipline; it is the recognition that your personal discipline and the discipline you expect of others is only an expression of love. It is the understanding that we have no right to judge others; we have a right only to love them and that includes wanting them to be their best.
Ask yourself: when I judge and criticize another is it in any way tinged with any of my own contempt and irritation? Is there any hidden satisfaction in his failure? Or is it only out of love for the other?
Exercise for the day: Before you criticize someone today, think twice: Is it out of concern and love?
Day 9 Meditation:
Today on day 9 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on Gevurah (Strength and Discipline of Character) in relation to itself…
Examine the discipline factor of discipline: Is my discipline reasonably restrained or is it excessive? Do I have enough discipline in my life and in my interactions? Am I organized? Is my time used efficiently? Why do I have problems with discipline and what can I do to enhance it? Do I take time each day for personal accounting of my schedule and accomplishments?
Exercise for the day: Make a detailed plan for how you will spend your day and determine to not let any negative thinking enter your thoughts… Be disciplined and if you catch yourself thinking negative about anyone or anything dispel it immediately… and at the end of the day take an assessment to see how you’ve done!
Day 10 Meditation:
Today on day 10 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Gevurah (Strength and Discipline of Character) correlates with Tiferet (Beautiful Balance and Harmony)
Underlying and driving discipline must not only be love, but also the beauty of love we call compassion. Compassion is unconditional love. It is love just for the sake of love, not considering the others position. Tiferet is the beauty of love revealed and is a result of total selflessness in the eyes of God. You love for no reason; you love because you are a reflection of God. Does my discipline have this element of compassion?
Exercise for the day: Think if there is someone whom you have expressed disapproval toward and seek to understand their situation and be more compassionate to their point of view!
Day 11 Meditation:
Today on day 11 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Gevurah (Strength in Discipline of Character) correlates with Netzach (Perseverance to Accomplish your Highest Goals)
Effective discipline must be enduring and tenacious. Is my discipline consistent or only when forced? Do I follow through and persevere with discipline? Am I perceived as a weak disciplinarian?
Exercise for the day: Extend the plan you made on day two for a longer period of time listing short-term and long-term goals. Review and update it each day, and see how consistent you are and if you follow through.
Day 12 Meditation:
Today on day 12 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Gevurah (Strength in Discipline of Character) correlates with Hod (Humble Glory and Splendor)
The results of discipline and might without humility are obvious. The greatest catastrophes have occurred as a result of people sitting in arrogant judgment of others. Am I arrogant in the name of justice (what I consider just)? Do I ever think that I sit on a higher pedestal and bestow judgment on my subjects below? What about my children? Students?
Exercise for the day: Before judging or criticizing anyone, check your motives and insure that you are doing so selflessly with no personal bias, making sure you are truly concerned about that person!
Day 13 Meditation:
Today on day 13 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Gevurah (Strength of Character) correlates with Yesod (A Strong Beginning, i.e. Foundation Bond)
For discipline to be effective it must be coupled with commitment and bonding. Both in disciplining yourself and others there has to be a sense that the discipline is important for developing a stronger bond. Not that I discipline you, but that we are doing it together for our mutual benefit.
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate to your child or student how discipline is an expression of intensifying your bond and commitment to each other.
Day 14 Meditation:
Today on day 14 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Gevurah (Strong moral Discipline of Character) correlates with Malchut (Servant Leadership)
Discipline, like love, must enhance personal dignity. Discipline that breaks a person will backfire. Healthy discipline should bolster self-esteem and help elicit the best in a person; cultivating his sovereignty. Does my discipline cripple the human spirit; does it weaken or strengthen me and others?
Exercise for the day: When disciplining your child or student, foster his self-respect and remind him or her that they are a child of the King of the Universe!
OMER WEEK 3: (TIFERET) COMPASSION, HARMONY, MERCY
Compassion unlocks much within your own heart.
During the third week of Counting the Omer, we examine the emotional attribute of Tiferet or compassion. Tiferet blends and harmonizes the free outpouring love of Chesed with the discipline of Gevurah. Tiferet possesses this power by introducing a third dimension ― the dimension of truth, which is neither love nor discipline and therefore can integrate the two.
Truth is accessed through selflessness: rising above your ego and your predispositions, enabling you to realize truth. Truth gives you a clear and objective picture of yours and others’ needs. This quality gives Tiferet its name, which means beauty: it blends the differing colors of love and discipline, and this harmony makes it beautiful.
Day 15 Meditation:
Today on day 15 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Tiferet (Beautiful Balance and Harmony from Compassion) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness)
Examine the love aspect of compassion. Ask yourself: Is my compassion tender and loving or does it come across as pity? Is my sympathy condescending and patronizing? Even if my intention is otherwise, do others perceive it as such? Does my compassion overflow with love and warmth; is it expressed with enthusiasm, or is it static and lifeless?
Exercise for the day: Respond to others with sincerity and empathy and when helping someone extend yourself in the fullest way while offering a loving smile or a loving gesture.
Day 16 Meditation:
Today on day 16 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Tiferet (Beautiful Compassionate Balance and Harmony) correlates with Gevurah (Strength of Disciplined Character)
For compassion to be effective and healthy it needs to be disciplined and focused. It requires discretion both to whom you express compassion, and in the measure of the compassion itself. It is recognizing when compassion should be expressed and when it should be withheld or limited. Discipline in compassion is knowing that being truly compassionate sometimes requires withholding compassion. Because compassion is not an expression of the bestower’s needs but a response to the recipient’s needs.
Exercise for the day: Think about how you can direct your compassion and express your compassion in a focused and constructive manner by addressing someone’s specific needs.
Day 17 Meditation:
Today on day 17 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on Tiferet (Beautiful Compassionate Balance and Harmony) in relation to itself…
True compassion is limitless. It is not an extension of your needs and defined by your limited perspective. Compassion for another is achieved by having a selfless attitude, rising above yourself and placing yourself in the other person’s situation and experience. Am I prepared and able to do that? If not, why? Do I express and actualize the compassion and empathy in my heart? What blocks me from expressing it? Is my compassion compassionate or self-serving? Is it compassion that comes out of guilt rather than genuine empathy? How does that affect and distort my compassion? Test yourself by seeing if you express compassion even when you don’t feel guilty.
Exercise for the day: Today take some time to really think empathetically about what someone else is feeling, and feel with them. Express your compassion in a new way that goes beyond your previous limitations and seek to express it towards someone to whom you may not have been so understanding.
Day 18 Meditation:
Today on day 18 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Tiferet (Beautiful Compassionate Balance and Harmony) correlates with Netzach (Perseverance to Overcome and be Victorious)
Is my compassion enduring and consistent? Is it reliable or whimsical? Does it prevail among other forces in my life? Do I have the capacity to be compassionate even when I’m busy with other activities or only when it’s comfortable for me? Am I ready to stand up and fight for another?
Exercise for the day: Does your compassion waver when you’re busy, having a hard day or discouraged? Maybe there is someone in your life who continually needs your compassion. In the middle of your busy day take a moment and call someone who needs a compassionate word. Defend someone who is in need of sympathy even if it’s not a popular position.
Day 19 Meditation:
Today on day 19 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Tiferet (Beautiful Balance and Harmony) correlates with Hod (Humble Glory and Splendor)
If compassion is not to be condescending, it must include humility. Hod is recognizing that my ability to be compassionate and giving does not make me better than the recipient; it is the acknowledgment and appreciation that by creating one who needs compassion God gave me the gift of being able to bestow compassion. Thus there is no place for haughtiness in compassion.
Do I feel superior because I am compassionate? Do I look down at those that need my compassion? Am I humble and thankful to God for giving me the ability to have compassion for others?
Exercise for the day: Today do something kind and express compassion in an anonymous fashion, not taking any personal credit for it.
Day 20 Meditation:
Today on day 20 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Tiferet (Beautiful Balance and Harmony) correlates with Yesod (A Strong Beginning, i.e. Foundation Bond)
For compassion to be fully realized, it needs bonding. It requires creating a channel between giver and receiver; a mutuality that extends beyond the moment of need. A bond that continues to live on. That is the most gratifying result of true compassion. Do you bond with the one you have compassion for, or do you remain apart? Does your interaction achieve anything beyond a single act of sympathy?
Exercise for the day: Seek to make a lasting connection through your compassion and ensure that something eternal is built as a result!
Day 21 Meditation:
Today on day 21 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Tiferet (Beautiful Compassionate Harmony) correlates with Malchut (Servant Leadership)
Examine the dignity of your compassion. For compassion to be complete (and enhance the other six aspects of compassion) it must recognize and appreciate individual sovereignty. It should boost self-esteem and cultivate human dignity. Both your own dignity and the dignity of the one benefiting from your compassion.
Is my compassion expressed in a dignified manner? Does it elicit dignity in others? Do I recognize the fact that when I experience compassion as dignified it will reflect reciprocally in the one who receives compassion?
Exercise for the day: Lift up others with your compassion rather than just giving charity and help the needy help themselves in a fashion that keeps their dignity in tact and also strengthens their dignity!
OMER WEEK 4: (NETZACH) ENDURANCE, VICTORY
Today’s endurance is tomorrow’s victory.
During the fourth week of counting the Omer, we examine and refine the emotional attribute of endurance known as Netzach. Netzach means endurance, fortitude and ambition and is a combination of determination and tenacity. It is a balance of patience, persistence and guts. Endurance is also being reliable and accountable, which establishes security and commitment.
Without endurance, any good endeavor or intention has no chance of success. Endurance means to be alive, to be driven by what counts. It is the readiness to fight for what you believe, to go all the way. This, of course, requires that endurance be closely examined to ensure that it is used in a healthy and productive manner.
Day 22 Meditation:
Today on day 22 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Netzach (Persistance to Overcome and be Victorious) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness)
For anything to endure it needs to be loved. A neutral or indifferent attitude will reflect in a marginal commitment. If you have difficulty making commitments, examine how much you love and enjoy the object that requires your commitment. Do I love my work? My family? My choices? For endurance to be effective it needs to be caring and loving. Does my endurance cause me to be, or seem to be, inflexible? Does my drive and determination cause me to be controlling? Am I too demanding? Do others (my employees, friends, children) cooperate with me out of the sheer force of my will and drive, or out of love?
Exercise for the day: When fighting for something you believe in, or in your determination to accomplish something, pause a moment to ensure that it is accomplished in a loving manner.
Day 23 Meditation:
Today on day 23 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Netzach (Persistance to Overcome and be Victorious) correlates with Gevurah (Strength of Character)
Examine the discipline of your endurance. Endurance must be directed toward productive goals and expressed in a constructive manner. Is my endurance and determination focused to help cultivate good habits and break bad ones? Or is it the other way around? Does my endurance come from strength or weakness? Does it come out of deep conviction or out of defensiveness? Do I use my endurance against itself by being tenacious in my lack of determination?
Exercise for the day: Today think about a negative behavior or a bad habit that you want to change – whether it is anger, procrastination, poor listening, jealousy, gossiping, impatience, self-criticism, or anything else… and seek to change and cultivate good habits in accordance with Yah’s principles instead!
Day 24 Meditation:
Today on day 24 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Netzach (Enduring Persistance to Overcome and be Victorious) correlates with Tiferet (Beautiful Balance and Harmony through Compassion)
Healthy endurance, directed to develop good qualities and modifying bad ones, will always be compassionate. The compassion of endurance reflects a most beautiful quality of endurance: an enduring commitment to help another grow. Endurance without compassion is misguided and selfish and become harsh and fatiguing. Endurance needs to be not just loving to those who deserve love, but also compassionate to the less fortunate. Does my determination compromise my compassion for others? Am I able to rise above my ego and empathize with my competitors? Am I gracious in victory?
Exercise for the day: Today be patient and listen with compassion to someone who usually makes you impatient.
Day 25 Meditation:
Today on day 25 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on Netzach (Enduring Perseverance to Overcome and be Victorious) in relation to itself…
Everyone has willpower and determination. We have the capacity to endure much more than we can imagine, and to prevail under the most trying of circumstances.
Ask yourself: Is my behavior erratic? Am I inconsistent and unreliable? Since I have will and determination, why am I so mercurial? Am I afraid of accessing my endurance and committing? Do I fear being trapped by my commitment? If yes, why? Is it a reaction to some past trauma? Instead of cultivating endurance in healthy areas, have I developed a capacity for endurance of unhealthy experiences? Do I endure more pain than pleasure? Do I underestimate my capacity to endure?
Exercise for the day: Today see a good quality in yourself and commit to developing that quality as well as a new good habit!
Day 26 Meditation:
Today on day 26 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Netzach (Enduring Persistence to Overcome and be Victorious) correlates with Hod (Glorious Humility)
Yielding ― which is a result of humility ― is an essential element of enduring. Standing fast can sometimes be a formula for destruction. The oak, lacking the ability to bend in the hurricane, is uprooted. The reed, which yields to the wind, survives without a problem. Do I know when to yield, out of strength not fear? Why am I often afraid to yield?
Endurance is fueled by inner strength. Hod of Netzach is the humble recognition and acknowledgement that the capacity to endure and prevail comes from the soul that God gave each person. This humility does not compromise the drive of endurance; on the contrary, it intensifies it, because human endurance can go only so far and endure only so much, whereas endurance that comes from the Divine soul is limitless.
Ask yourself: Do I attribute my success solely to my own strength and determination? Am I convinced that I am all-powerful due to my level of endurance? Where do I get the strength at times when everything seems so bleak?
Exercise for the day: Today acknowledge the Almighty in everything! Acknowledge the Divine Source for giving you a soul with the extraordinary power and versatility to endure despite trying challenges. This will allow you to draw energy and strength for the entire day.
Day 27 Meditation:
Today on day 27 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Netzach (Enduring Persistence to Overcome and be Victorious) correlates with Yesod (A Strong Beginning, i.e. Foundation Bond)
Bonding is an essential quality of endurance and the foundation of a lasting connection with someone. It expresses your unwavering commitment to the person or experience you are bonding with, a commitment so powerful that you will endure all to preserve it. Endurance without bonding will not endure.
Exercise for the day: To ensure the endurance of your new resolution, bond with it immediately. This can be assured by promptly actualizing your resolution in some constructive deed or committing yourself to another. Think about whom you want to make a lasting connection with, and find a constructive way to bond with them today!
Day 28 Meditation:
Today on day 28 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Netzach (Enduring Persistence to Overcome and be Victorious) correlates with Malchut (Sovereign Servant Leadership)…
Sovereignty is the cornerstone of endurance. Endurance that encompasses the previous six qualities is indeed a tribute and testimony to the majesty of the human spirit.
Ask yourself: Is my endurance dignified? Does it bring out the best in me? When faced with hardships do I behave like a king or queen, walking proudly with my head up, confident in my God-given strengths, or do I cower and shrivel up in fear? Do I stand up for what I believe in with dignity?
Exercise for the day: Today, stand up like a dignified leader and fight for a dignified cause!
OMER WEEK 5: HUMILITY, SPLENDOR, GLORY (HOD)
There is greatness in smallness. There is beauty in modesty. There is power in gratitude.
During the fifth week of counting the Omer, we examine and refine the emotional attribute of Hod or humility. Humility ― and the resulting yielding ― should not be confused with weakness and lack of self-esteem. Hod or humility is modesty ― it is acknowledgment (from the root of the Hebrew word “hoda’ah”). It is saying “thank you” to God. It is clearly recognizing your qualities and strengths and acknowledging that they are not your own; they were given to you by God for a higher purpose than just satisfying your own needs. Humility is modesty; it is recognizing how small you are which allows you to realize how large you can become. And that makes humility so formidable.
A full cup cannot be filled. When you’re filled with yourself and your needs, “I and nothing else”, there is no room for more. When you “empty” yourself before something greater than yourself, your capacity to receive increases beyond your previously perceived limits. Humility is the key to transcendence; to reach beyond yourself. Only true humility gives you the power of total objectivity. Humility is sensitivity; it is healthy shame out of recognition that you can be better than you are and that you can expect more of yourself. Although humility is silent it is not a void. It is a dynamic expression of life that includes all seven qualities of love, discipline, compassion, endurance, humility, bonding and sovereignty.
Day 29 Meditation:
Today on day 29 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Hod (Glorious Humility) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness)
Examine the love in your humility. Healthy humility is not demoralizing; it brings love and joy not fear. Humility that lacks love has to be reexamined for its authenticity. Sometimes humility can be confused with low self-esteem, which would cause it to be unloving. Humility brings love because it gives you the ability to rise above yourself and love another.
Ask yourself: Does my humility cause me to be more loving and giving? More expansive? Or does it inhibit and constrain me?
Exercise for the day: Today take some time to notice the small things that make the people you know extra special… then tonight, before praying with humility and acknowledgment of God, give some charity and see how it will enhance your prayers!
Day 30 Meditation:
Today on day 30 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Hod (Glorious Humility) correlates with Gevurah (Strength of Character)
Humility must be disciplined and focused…. A lack of humility breeds arrogance, but a misunderstanding of humility breeds low self-esteem!
Ask yourself: When should my humility cause me to compromise and when not? In the name of humility do I sometimes remain silent and neutral in the face of wickedness? Humility must also include respect and awe for the person or experience before whom you stand humble. If my humility is wanting, is it because I don’t respect another?
Exercise for the day: Today meditate on your humility and think about how it affects the way you treat yourself and others… Focus in on your reluctance to commit in a given area to see if it originates from a healthy, humble place or from the ego.
Day 31 Meditation:
Today on day 31 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Hod (Glorious Humility) correlates with Tiferet (Beautiful Compassion that brings Balance and Harmony)…
Examine if your humility is compassionate. Just as humility brings compassion, compassion can lead one to humility. If you lack humility, try acting compassionately, which can help bring you to humility.
Ask yourself: Does my humility cause me to be self-contained and anti-social or does it express itself in empathy for others. Is my humility balanced and beautiful? Or is it awkward? When you see someone behaving in a way that you don’t approve of, do you automatically find reasons to judge them or do you take the time to understand the reasons behind their behavior?
Exercise for the day: Today seek to understand others and express a humble feeling in an act of compassion.
Day 32 Meditation:
Today on day 32 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Hod (Glorious Humility) correlates with Netzach (Endurance to Overcome and be Victorious)…
Examine the strength and endurance of your humility. Having humility means being able to make yourself small so that you can see the greatness of God in everything around you.
Ask yourself: Does my humility withstand challenges? Am I firm in my positions or do I waffle in the name of humility? Humility and modesty should not cause one to feel weak and insecure. Netzach of Hod underscores the fact that true humility does not make you into a “doormat” for others to step on; on the contrary, humility gives you enduring strength. Is my humility perceived as weakness? Does that cause others to take advantage of me?
Exercise for the day: Today look at the splendor of Creation and remember your responsibility to help care for it. Demonstrate the strength of your humility by initiating or actively participating in a good cause.
Day 33 Meditation:
Today on day 33 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Our Hod (Humble Glory and Splendor) correlates with recognition of
the Divine Hod (Divine Glory and Splendor)
Everyone has humility and modesty in their hearts, the question is the measure and manner in which one consciously feels it.
Ask yourself: Am I afraid to be too humble? Do I mask and protect my modesty with aggressive behavior? Humility must also be examined for its genuineness. Is my humility humble? Or is it yet another expression of arrogance? Do I take too much pride in my humility? Do I flaunt it? Is it self-serving? Is my humility part of a crusade or is it genuine?
Exercise for the day: Be humble just for its own sake and take time to remember that there is absolutely nothing you can do without the help of God. Acknowledge with thankfulness the qualities and strengths He has given you!
Day 34 Meditation:
Today on day 34 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Hod (Glorious Humility) correlates with Yesod (A Strong Beginning, i.e. Foundation Bond)
Humility should not be a lonely experience. It ought to result in deep bonding and commitment. There is no stronger bond than one that comes out of humility.
Ask yourself: Am I humbly respectful to others and patiently listen to them carefully? Does my humility separate me from others or bring us closer? Does my humility produce results? Long term results? Does it create an everlasting foundation upon which I and others can rely and build.
Exercise for the day: Today use your humility to bond with others to maintain healthy relationships and build something lasting!
Day 35 Meditation:
Today on day 35 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on howHod (Glory and Splendor) correlates with Malchut (Servant Leadership)
Walking humbly is walking tall. Dignity is the essence of humility and modesty. The splendor of humility is majestic and aristocratic. Humility that suppresses the human spirit and denies individual sovereignty is not humility at all.
Ask yourself: Does my humility make me feel dignified? Do I feel alive and vibrant?
Exercise for the day: Today, be a great leader by building up others around you and set an example of how humility and modesty enhance human dignity!
OMER WEEK 6: (YESOD) BONDING, FOUNDATION
Connection is essential to who you are. Bonding is the foundation of all relationships…
During the sixth week of counting the Omer, we examine and refine the emotional attribute of Yesod or bonding. Bonding means connecting; not only feeling for another, but being attached to him. Not just a token commitment, but total devotion. It creates a channel between giver and receiver. Bonding is eternal. It develops an everlasting union that lives on forever through the perpetual fruit it bears.
Bonding is the foundation of life. The emotional spine of the human psyche. Every person needs bonding to flourish and grow. The bonding between mother and child; between husband and wife; between brothers and sisters; between close friends. Bonding is affirmation; it gives one the sense of belonging; that “I matter”, “I am significant and important”. It establishes trust ― trust in yourself and trust in others. It instills confidence. Without bonding and nurturing we cannot realize and be ourselves.
Day 36 Meditation:
Today on day 36 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Yesod (A Strong Foundation Bond) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness)
Love is the heart of bonding. You cannot bond without love. Love establishes a reliable base on which bonding can build. If you have a problem bonding, examine how much you love the one (or the experience) with which you wish to bond. Do I try to bond without first fostering a loving attitude?
Ask yourself: Is my bonding expressed in a loving manner?
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate the bond you have with your child or friend through an act of love.
Day 37 Meditation:
Today on day 37 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Yesod (A Strong Foundation Bond) correlates with Gevurah (Discipline of Character)
Bonding must be done with discretion and careful consideration with whom and with what you bond. Your boundaries help you bond with others in a healthy way. Even the healthiest and closest bonding needs “time out”, a respect for each individual’s space. Respecting the boundaries of others gives them a sense of security, which strengthens your connection with them.
Ask yourself: Is the way I seek to bond good for my boundaries as well as the boundaries of others? Do I over-bond? Am I too dependent on the one I bond with? Is he/she too dependent on me? Do I bond out of desperation? Do I bond with healthy, wholesome people?
Exercise for the day: Today review the discipline in your bonding experiences to see if it needs adjustment.
Day 38 Meditation:
Today on day 38 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Yesod (A Strong Foundation Bond) correlates with Tiferet (Beautiful Compassionate Harmony)
Bonding needs to be not only loving but also compassionate, feeling your friend’s pain and empathizing with him.
Ask yourself: Is my bonding conditional? Do I withdraw when I am uncomfortable with my friend’s troubles?
Exercise for the day: Today do an act of compassion to show someone that they are important you and offer help and support in dealing with an ordeal of someone with whom you have bonded.
Day 39 Meditation:
Today on day 39 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Yesod (A Strong Foundation Bond) correlates with Netzach (Perseverance to Overcome and be Victorious)
An essential component of bonding is its endurance; its ability to withstand challenges and setbacks. A lasting bond requires endurance and consistency. Without endurance there is no chance to develop true bonding.
Ask yourself: Am I totally committed to the one with whom I bond? How much will I endure and how ready am I to fight to maintain this bond? Is the person I bond with aware of my devotion?
Exercise for the day: Today think about someone with whom you have a close bond and demonstrate the endurance level of your bonding by confronting any inconsistency or challenge which might hinder or obstruct your bond with that person.
Day 40 Meditation:
Today on day 40 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Yesod (A Strong Foundation Bond) correlates with Hod (Humble Humble Glory and Splendor)
Humility is crucial in healthy bonding. Arrogance divides people. Preoccupation with your own desires and needs separates you from others. Humility allows you to appreciate another person and bond with him. Healthy bonding is the union of two distinct people, with independent personalities, who join for a higher purpose than satisfying their own needs. True humility comes from recognizing and acknowledging God in your life.
Ask yourself: Am I aware of the third partner ― God ― in bonding? And that this partner gives me the capacity to unite with another, despite our distinctions.
Exercise for the day: When praying acknowledge and thank God specifically for helping you bond with others.
Day 41 Meditation:
Today on day 41 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Yesod (Our desire for a Foundational Bond) relates to the Divine Yesod (The Source of Bonding)… Every person needs and has the capacity to bond with other people, with significant undertakings and with meaningful experiences. …
Ask yourself: Do I have difficulty bonding? Is the difficulty in all areas or only in certain ones? Do I bond easily with my job, but have trouble bonding with people? Or vice versa?
Examine the reasons for not bonding… Is it because I am too critical and find fault in everything as an excuse for not bonding? Am I too locked in my own ways? Is my not bonding a result of discomfort with vulnerability? Have I been hurt in my past bonding experiences? Has my trust been abused? Is my fear of bonding a result of the deficient bonding I experienced as a child? To cultivate your capacity to bond, even if you have valid reasons to distrust, you must remember that God gave you a Divine soul that is nurturing and loving and you must learn to recognize the voice within, which will allow you to experience other people’s souls and hearts. Then you can slowly drop your defenses when you recognize someone or something you can truly trust.
One additional point to note: Bonding breeds bonding. When you bond in one area of your life, it helps you bond in other areas! We pray that if you have been hurt by a lack of bonding or a broken bond that you allow yourself to be healed by bonding with the Creator who created us for relationship with Himself!
Exercise for the day: Today, take a step toward making a healthy bond not only with another person but also with the Creator! Designate time each day to spend together constructively!
Day 42 Meditation:
Today on day 42 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Yesod (Foundation Bond) correlates with Malchut (Servant Leadership Sovereignty)…
Bonding must enhance a person’s sovereignty. It should nurture and strengthen your own dignity and the dignity of the one you bond with.
Ask yourself: Does my bonding inhibit the expression of my personality and qualities? When I bond with someone, does it produce a sense of self-worth in them? Do they feel uplifted and encouraged? Do I overwhelm the one I bond with?
Exercise for the day: Today examine each aspect of your bonding and think about ways you can improve. Also try to emphasize and highlight the strengths of the one with whom you bond.
OMER WEEK 7: (MALCHUT) SOVEREIGNTY, LEADERSHIP, DIGNITY, NOBILITY
Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom and You are exalted as head above all. (1 Chron. 29:11)
During the seventh and final week of counting the Omer, we examine and refine the attribute of Malchut ― nobility, sovereignty and leadership. Sovereignty is a state of being rather than an activity. Nobility is a passive expression of human dignity that has nothing of its own except that which it receives from the other six emotions. True leadership is the art of selflessness; it is only a reflection of a Higher will. On the other hand, Malchut manifests and actualizes the character and majesty of the human spirit. It is the very fiber of what makes us human.
Malchut is a sense of belonging. Knowing that you matter and that you make a difference. That you have the ability to be a proficient leader in your own right. It gives you independence and confidence. A feeling of certainty and authority. When a mother lovingly cradles her child in her arms and the child’s eyes meet the mother’s affectionate eyes, the child receives the message: “I am wanted and needed in this world. I have a comfortable place where I will always be loved. I have nothing to fear. I feel like royalty in my heart.” This is Malchut, kingship.
Day 43 Meditation:
Today on day 43 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Malchut (Sovereign Servant Leadership) correlates with Chesed (Loving-kindness)
Healthy sovereignty is always kind and loving. An effective leader needs to be warm and considerate.
Ask yourself: Does my sovereignty make me more loving? Do I exercise my authority and leadership in a caring manner? Do I impose my authority on others?
Exercise for the day: Do something kind for those under your leadership.
Day 44 Meditation:
Today on day 44 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Malchut (Sovereign Servant Leadership) correlates with Gevurah (Strength/Discipline of Character)…
Although sovereignty is loving, it needs to be balanced with discipline. Effective leadership is built on authority and discipline. There is another factor in the discipline of sovereignty: determining the area in which you have jurisdiction and authority. Good leaders know their boundaries – when it is their place and within their ability to lead, and when it is not. They also respect the authority and sovereignty of others.
Ask yourself: Do I recognize when I am not an authority? Do I exercise authority in unwarranted situations? Am I aware of my limitations as well as my strengths? Do I respect the authority of others?
Exercise for the day: Today, before assuming authority or taking an authoritative position on any given issue, pause and reflect if it is appropriate to do so and whether or not you have the right and the ability to exercise authority in this situation.
Day 45 Meditation:
Today on day 45 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Malchut (Sovereign Servant Leadership) correlates with Tifret (Beautiful Compassionate Balance and Harmony)…
A good leader is a compassionate one which brings harmony in the lives they affect.
Ask yourself: Is my compassion compromised because of my authority or do I realize that an integral part of dignity is compassion? Tiferet ― harmony ― is critical for successful leadership. Do I manage a smooth-running operation? Am I organized? Do I give clear instructions to those that I am leading? Do I have difficulty delegating power? Do we have frequent staff meetings to coordinate our goals and efforts?
Exercise for the day: Today examine your compassion in leadership and review an area where you wield authority and see if you can polish it up and increase its effectiveness by curtailing excesses and consolidating forces.
Day 46 Meditation:
Today on day 46 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Malchut (Sovereign Servant Leadership) correlates with Netzach (Perseverance to Overcome and be Victorious)…
Perseverance and consistency are attributes of leaders who do not give up until they reach their goal. A person’s dignity and a leader’s success are tested by his endurance level. Will and determination reflect the power and majesty of the human spirit.
Ask yourself: How determined am I in reaching my goals? How strong is my conviction to fight for a dignified cause? How confident am I in myself? Is my lack of endurance a result of my low self-esteem? Do I mask my insecurities by finding other excuses for my low endurance level?
Exercise for the day: Today create a daily routine that will give you stamina to reach your goals and make you feel good about who you are… then do something that you believe in but have until now been tentative about. Take the leap and just do it!
Day 47 Meditation:
Today on day 47 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Malchut (Sovereign Servant Leadership) correlates with Hod (Humble Glory and Splendor)
Malchut Sovereignty is God’s gift to each individual. Hod of Malchut is the humble appreciation of this exceptional gift. The beauty of Humility is that it keeps haughtiness and arrogance at bay. Humility is recognizing that your personal sovereignty and dignity are gifts from God!
Ask yourself: Does my sovereignty and independence humble me? Am I an arrogant leader? Do I appreciate the special qualities I was blessed with?
Exercise for the day: Today take time to acknowledge God for creating you with personal dignity and thank Him for your sovereignty in the spirit of humility!
Day 48 Meditation:
Today on day 48 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Malchut (Sovereign Dominion/Servant Leadership) correlates with Yesod (A Strong Foundation Bond)
Examine the bonding aspect of your sovereignty. Healthy independence should not prevent you from bonding with another person. On the contrary: self-confidence allows you to respect and trust another’s sovereignty and ultimately bond with him. That bond will strengthen your own sovereignty, rather than sacrifice it.
Ask yourself: Does my sovereignty prevent me from bonding? Could that be because of deeper insecurities or past woundings of which I am unaware? Do I recognize the fact that a fear of bonding reflects a lack of self-confidence in my own Divine sovereignty and nobility?
Exercise for the day: Today let your nobility shine! Forgive the past and make an effort to deepen the bonds with someone or something you care about.
Day 49 Meditation:
Today on day 49 of counting the Omer up to Shavu’ot we meditate on how Malchut (Sovereign Dominion/Servant Leadership) correlates with Malchut (Sovereign Dominion/Servant Leadership)
Examine the Divine Sovereignty of your sovereignty. Does it come from deep-rooted inner confidence in my Divine identity or ego? Is it realized to help others or just a put-on to mask my insecurities?
Ask yourself: Is my sovereignty humble or excessive? Am I aware of my uniqueness as a person? Of my personal purpose and contribution?
Exercise for the day: Take a moment and concentrate on yourself, on your true inner self, not on your performance and how you project to others; and be at peace with yourself knowing that God created a very special person which is you.
After the 49 days of Counting the Omer, after having fully achieved inner renewal by merit of having assessed and developed each of our 49 attributes, we arrive at the fiftieth day. On this day we celebrate the Festival of Shavuot, the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah). After we have accomplished all we can through our own initiative, then we are worthy to receive a gift (matan) from Above which we could not have achieved with our own limited faculties. We receive the ability to reach and touch the Divine; not only to be cultivated human beings who have refined all of our personal characteristics, but divine human beings who are capable of expressing ourselves above and beyond the definitions and limitations of our beings.
Mazal tov! Congratulations! You have completed the counting of the Omer!
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. We wish you a blessed and meaningful Shavu’ot!
The Scripture used in Omer Week 7 is based off of the JPS 1917 Tanakh
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Torah Parashah teaching with video and audio and illustrations by Rabbi Isaac. © 2021 Assembly of Called-Out Believers. Use by Permission.