Guest Author - Lisa Pinkus
I am no Kabbalist (mystical teachings authority), but I do seize any opportunity that will stimulate self-growth, offer deep insight or inspire powerful change. The Counting of the Omer can do just that.
From the second Seder through the time of Shavuot, the Jewish people count the days. This is referred to as the Counting of the Omer. It unites the experience of physical liberation from Passover to the spiritual liberation that occurred when we received the Torah at Mount Sinai. The Kabbalists have created a tradition where a pair of sefirot (the ten attributes of G-d) are related to each day of the Omer. Each of the weeks and each day within each week have an assigned sefirot pair.
Each of the seven sefirot utilized with the Counting of the Omer has its own meaning.
Each of the daily groupings has their own meaning as well. I went through each of these pairings and came up with my own journey of personal development. I hope it inspires you to do the same. Use what I’ve created or design something that better suits your needs.
Here is the first week:
Chesed in Chesed (loving-kindness in loving-kindness): Focus on love and kindness toward those in your own home. Too often, we treat those outside our homes better than those we love.
Gevurah in Chesed (discipline in loving-kindness): Look at each of your children and identify their individual needs. What do they need from you in order to thrive?
Tiferet in Chesed (compassion in loving-kindness): Pick a mitzvah project to do with your family or friends. Expect nothing in return for your kindness. Bring pictures to a nursing home. Go to the library for a sick friend. Offer to walk someone’s dog while they are out of town.
Netzach in Chesed (endurance in loving-kindness): Pay attention to the things that disrupt your ability to treat everyone with kindness. What affects your moods? Are you reactive to situations?
Hod in Chesed (splendor in loving-kindness): Make amends with someone you have not been getting along with.
Yesod in Chesed (bonding in loving-kindness): Do something special to unite your family. Have a special dinner. Go to the park together. Have a special game night. Or just sit around and talk.
Malchut in Chesed (dignity in loving-kindness): How noble would you feel if you could (anonymously) drop $100 in a Tzedakah can? If you can’t do that, find another way to do a “secret mitzvah” – something that would really brighten someone’s day.
At the end of this week, may we all uncover the everlasting loving-kindness that is within us and learn to treat others more nicely on a more consistent basis. Look for more daily pairings and my interpretation of their potential lessons in subsequent weeks.