let me count the (w/d)ays

The peri­od between Pesach and Shavuot was one of seri­ous ten­sion in ancient Israel. The bar­ley har­vest began at Pesach and the wheat har­vest end­ed near the time of Shavuot. More was at stake dur­ing the peri­od of the count­ing of the Omer than our spir­i­tu­al growth. The future year’s wealth, whether or not the peo­ple would go hun­gry, was deter­mined dur­ing that sev­en-week peri­od.

Today, we might be count­ing, but we are also ac-count­ing… prepar­ing a report on the har­vest. What have we har­vest­ed? Will the stores be full for the com­ing year? The task is not so much the process of count­ing (and how we might account for each day), but the goal at the end of the peri­od. Will we be ready for the full­ness of the gift that comes at the end the forty-nine day count?

count points on-[a]-line

When I began count­ing the Omer on Face­book a few years ago I joined a few friends. Now I am very pleased to see so many peo­ple shar­ing their var­ied approach­es. Not only is the Omer count­ed on Face­book, but also on Twit­ter with #Omer, #Omer­Count and #Count­TheOmer. As not­ed here, there’s a page at the Huff­in­g­ton Post where Joshua Fleet curates a live­blog of Omer count­ing. And a quick review of that page sug­gests that even more peo­ple are using var­i­ous elec­tron­ic, social media to count the Omer in increas­ing­ly dif­fer­ent ways.

One that caught the atten­tion of a cou­ple of friends is: “Omer 2013: tak­ing into account” by Jacque­line Nicholls

count­ing every day of the omer, from pesach to shavuot, by tak­ing account of the things in life we hold onto. 50 peo­ple will share with me a list of the small items that are found in pock­ets, the bot­tom of their bags, the small stuff they car­ry around. from that list I will make a draw­ing and togeth­er a sto­ry will be told.”

I think this is a love­ly idea. If I was to build on Jacqueline’s idea for my own count­ing, I would:

  • start with 49 items that I’d take out (of “Egypt”) with me and each day “dis­card” one that was “unnec­es­sary” till I arrive at Sinai with the essence of what I need.

Or the reverse:

  • as I leave Egypt a slave, what ideas/values do I col­lect along the way so that I have 49 when I arrive at Sinai?

A sam­pling of more Omer count­ing ideas on the Web worth explor­ing include:

color the omer

Many peo­ple who count the Omer know by now of my inter­est in col­or. So I was a intrigued to learn that the same day that my Omer Cal­en­dar was shared on the Huff­in­g­ton Post page two oth­er approach­es to col­or­ing the Omer appeared: one an out­growth of my exper­i­ment­ing by my col­league R. Amy Schein­er­man and anoth­er pre­pared by Aharon Varady based on the col­or cor­re­spon­dences of Reb Zal­man Schachter-Shalo­mi.

And, so it is that I recent­ly learned of the Hin­du fes­ti­val Holi which is cel­e­brat­ed near the same time as the begin­ning of Pesach. Inter­est­ing­ly enough, it is con­sid­ered a fes­ti­val of col­ors.

Accord­ing to the arti­cle about Chakras in the Wikipedia, “Indi­an Yog­ic teach­ings assign to the sev­en major chakras spe­cif­ic qual­i­ties, such as col­or of influ­ence (from the 7 rays of spec­trum light)….” A num­ber of illus­tra­tions make this clear.

perfect soul rainbow

col­ored chakras in a magen david

make it count

As we make our lives count, I want to use this time to encour­age every­one with a Twit­ter account to join us on the day before Shavuot. That day we want to make #Torah rise (yes, the “hash­tag” is also the “num­ber sign” so: “count Torah!”) among the top­ics that are count­ed that day. I have writ­ten about this on my own blog:

…and on Face­book where you are invit­ed to join and indi­cate that you will attend our event.

While we’re count­ing, I offer this lapel but­ton from my col­lec­tion and am remind­ed by a friend and col­league who has this as part of her e‑signature:

The high­est wis­dom is kind­ness.
[B’rakhot 17a]

The but­ton seems to have been made in the Philadel­phia area, like­ly by this con­gre­ga­tion.

kindness counts

kind­ness counts

Date: 2000s
Size: 5.7
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text Kind­ness

Kol Ami

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

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