What is an Omer?
In ancient times between Passover and Shavuot, daily measurements of barley called Omer were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem.
According to Wikipedia, omer was roughly equivalent to 2.3 liters or between between 1.560 kg. to 1.770 kg in dry weight. The word, omer, is sometimes translated asÂ â€œsheaves.â€Â
Beginning on the second night of Passover, Jews are commanded (Leviticus 23:15-16) to count the 49 days of offering between Passover and Shavuot. This is calledÂ Sefirat HaOmerâ€”Counting the Omer.
What is The Omer Project?
The Omer Project Meditation Card Deck is a set of 49 illustrated counting cards with texts to inspire introspection and meditation along a personal, spiritual journey through the 7 weeks of Sefirat HaOmer. A card containing the blessing recited before each day of the count is also included.
ThisÂ Kabalistic journey of the soul is a circular practice, which is why we make this introspective pilgrimage each year with the goal of improving ourselves and our world, building on lessons learned in previous years and adding observations from our current vantage points.
The Card Deck
The Omer Project Meditation Card Deck is inspired by a combination of Mussar teachings and Kabbalistic tradition.Â Each week, represented by one of the seven lower sefirot of the Tree of Life, is assigned a primary symbol image as well as a secondary gesture to indicate the action within anotherâ€™s week. The final week, Malchut, is a little specialâ€”its emphasis is on the gesture, and the symbol itself is secondary.
I’ve listed the the symbols below, but will leave you to contemplate the gestures.
Week 1 – Chesed – Loving-kindnessÂ
Symbolized by the cups and water
Week 2 – Gevurah – Discipline, Strength
Symbolized by the standing stones
Week 3 – Tiferet – Harmony, balance
Symbolized by flowering trees
Week 4 – Netzach â€“ Endurance, Perseverance
Symbolized by fireballs
Week 5 – Hod â€“ Humility, Splendor
Symbolized by crates defining the space inside them and out.
Week 6 – Yesod â€“ Bonding, Foundation
Symbolized by rings and links
Week 7 – Malchut – Sovereignty
Represented in the letter, shin, influenced by Sefer Yetzirah
Each day we count the Omer, we contemplate how the sefirot interact with each other, manifest in ourselves, and the ways we address our relationships and the world around us.
Count With Me
The Omer count for this year is done.
Join me starting just after next Pesach in 2023 where Iâ€™ll be sending an email every day of the Omer via MailerLite with the images and text from my Omer Meditation Card Deck.
How to Count
Each day we count, we recite the blessing:
Baruch atah A-donai E-loheinu Melekh Ha-olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav
v’tzivanu al S’firat 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.
And then we give the number for the day.
For more detailed information on counting, I refer you to the Chabad website.