|Torah of Awakening|
Each of the seven weeks between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot, the festivals of Liberation and Revelation, are said to be channels for the seven lower s'firot of the Tree of Life- the seven Divine qualities. In addition, the seven days of each of the seven weeks also embody the same seven qualities.
Therefore, each of the 49 days (7 days x 7 weeks) has its own unique permutation
Rebbe Nachman of Bretzlov teaches:
“Know, that whatever people speak about during the days of S'fira, they are only talking about the S'fira of that day. People who understand are able to hear and know this, and if they will pay attention well to what people discuss, they will hear them talking only about the S'fira of that day...”
-Likutei Moharan I, 182
Rebbe Nachman is saying that if you listen closely, you will see that everyone around you is talking about the particular permutation of the particular day.
A fascinating claim! Is that really true? Are people going around talking about whatever they're talking about, and yet unbeknownst to them, the particular s'fira permutation of the day is influencing their thoughts and words?
Actually, to go down this road of inquiry is to miss the point. There's another profound opportunity for inquiry that comes from this teaching:
If you begin with the idea that everyone around you is talking about the sefira of the day in veiled terms, and you want to discover the hidden meaning of what they're saying, what does that lead you to do?
It leads you to listen very very carefully! It leads you to be present- to keep your mind in the shape of this question: "What's really going on?"
When you do that, you may not get an answer. With the practice of inquiry, the answer isn't really the point. It's the shape of your mind that's the point.
When your mind is shaped like a question mark, it is open, curious, receptive- very different from a mind that already knows the answer, shaped like a period or exclamation point.
So, this S'firat HaOmer period can be wonderful practice of inquiry. You can even do this practice without even knowing the Hebrew terms and Kabbalistic concepts. Simply ask inwardly each of the 49 days- what is the quality of this day? What is shining from everything that's arising in this experience?
Then, just notice. If revelation comes, wonderful, but it's not the point. Counting is the point- meaning, noting and asking into the uniqueness of this moment.
Shabbat Shalom, Ma'adim L'simkha- Good Times!
P.S. If you do want to learn about the Hebrew terms and Kabbalistic concepts, here's some info:
The Seven Sefirot and the "Middah" or spiritual quality associated with them:
Hesed- "Loving Kindness" (Middah is also Loving Kindness)
Gevurah- "Strength" (Middah is also Strength, particularly drawing boundaries)
Tiferet- "Grace/Beauty"- Middah is Compassion.
Netzakh- "Victory" or "Eternity"- Middah is Persistence, Not-Giving-Up.
Hod- "Majesty" or "Glory"- Middah is Gratitude, also Humility.
Yesod- "Foundation"- Middah is Connection, Empathy, Intimacy.
Malkhut- "Kingdom"- Middah is Trust, Faith.
Here is a cool chart I found for seeing how the S'firot permute for all 49 days, along with instructions for the counting of the Omer, which is done in the evenings. This year, the first day (16th of Nisan on the chart) was Saturday night, April 23rd. (There's a little typo however- the final day in the middle, the holiday of Shavuot, begins on the 6th, not the 7th, though it extends through the 7th outside the land if Israel.)
For more info on how to do the daily Omer counting ritual with the dates for this year 2016 (5776), here's a useful link I found- Click Here
There are also tons of apps available nowadays for counting the Omer.