First night of Pesach: I don't want to forget
Meeting our children where they are

Today is the First Day of the Omer!

ColorfulOmerChartToday is the first day of the Omer -- the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot, between liberation and revelation!

I'm not going to manage daily Omer posts this year (as I did last year on my congregational blog), but here's my post for Day 1 of the Omer last year -- just ignore the Gregorian date, since the first day of the Omer this year began at sundown on Monday March 25, which is to say, last night.

The kabbalists of Jewish tradition developed the idea that these seven weeks are a special time for focusing on a set of seven sefirot, seven divine qualities which we share with God: lovingkindness, boundaried strength, harmony and balance, endurance, humility, roots / foundation, and nobility / sovereignty.

I like to think of these qualities as facets of a gem, and during each week of the Omer, a different facet is held up to the light. Or perhaps, lenses / facets of a prism. Shine white light through a prism, and the seven colors of the rainbow emerge. Shine divinity through the prism of these seven weeks, and these seven qualities come into new focus.

And because there are seven days in each week, we rotate through the seven qualities each week, too.

Today is the day of chesed she'b'chesed, lovingkindness within lovingkindness. Abiding love, abounding love, lovingkindness and compassion which overflows our hearts and spills into the world around us. May we embody this quality as we move through the world today, on this first step toward the wonder of the revelation at Sinai.

If you're looking for Omer-counting resources, here are four wonderful books for counting the Omer: one by Shifrah Tobacman, one by Rabbi Min Kantrowitz, one by Rabbi Jill Hammer, and one by Rabbi Yael Levy. Rabbi Levy is at Mishkan Shalom, and each year she sends out daily Omer teachings via email and Facebook -- you can learn more, and sign up, here: Count the Omer with Us from Passover to Shavuot. And the spiraling map of the Omer count which illustrates this post was adapted from the one I found here: Counting of the Omer | Temple B'nai Abraham -- but I added the color-coding and the indications of which qualities are ascendant on each day. Here's a printable pdf if you want it: ColorfulOmerChart [pdf]