O.M.G. - Omer Challenge
While the secular calendar runs like a checklist, with days and weeks operating in a regimented, constant pace, the Jewish calendar is more of an art. It ebbs and flows, with the seasons falling into a rhythm that includes chaotic, stacked periods, and languid, hands-off spaces. There are plenty of reasons to love it - from weeks marked by Shabbat, bookended by the fire of candles that end the last week and start the new one, to months guided by the phases of the moon and the patterns of nature.
We’re about to enter one of my favorite times of the year. It’s the period known as the Omer.
The Omer is a period of forty-nine days that starts on the second day of Passover and lasts until Shavuot, for a grand total of seven weeks. Traditionally, Jews mark each of these days by counting them in a ritual known as Sefriat HaOmer, or literally, the counting of the omer. The ritual of the omer, a measure of barley given as a sacrifice in the ancient Temple, has biblical origins, and there are more interpretations of this practice than I can possibly make sense of. So instead, I’ll focus on what the omer is for me.
Counting the omer is taking part in a process of spiritual reflection and refinement, taking a period of transition and turning it into a time of action.
Every day of the omer has a theme. According to Kabbalistic tradition, each of the themes is connected to one of the seven sefirot, and each week also has a theme, meaning that each of the forty-nine days has its own permutation. With each day having its own characteristic, all geared towards inner growth, this is the perfect time period for introspection and inspiration.
So here’s the deal. Each day of the omer, I plan to journal my reflections on the daily theme, and I’m inviting you to join along with me. I’ll be doing my reflections on Instagram @Sam_Vinokor, and I’ll share my prompts with all of my followers. And for those who aren’t up for the daily practice, each week I’ll post a summary here on the blog, along with tips on how to integrate the omer/middot into your teaching practice.
As we gear up for this sacred time, I want to hear from you. Do you have an omer practice? Do you incorporate it into your teaching at all? And finally, will you join me?
Please share in the comments!