Omer: Secret Insights

What is important in a countdown? Only the target event is a concern. Three… two… one... as if the days leading up to that event are an obstruction. This is not the way of Judaism, as our count builds up to the goal. Each day is an opportunity to improve and prepare for the event. Indeed this is the case with the awesome event of the giving of the Torah. We count a full 49 days, seven weeks, and the uncounted 50th day is the holiday Shavu'ot [Weeks].

This count, seven sets of seven, parallels the kabbalistic concept of the Sefirot [Countings]. For those who wish to probe into secrets, each day offers an opportunity to fix specific behaviors that are associated with that day's omer count.

The explanation of the specific dynamics of Sefirotis beyond the scope of this essay. It is enough for us to know that each day helps to prepare us spiritually to receive the secrets of Torah. However, one thing to remember concerning the Sefirot is that they always function as one unit. Even though we refer to one individual attribute, it is inseparable from any other attribute. Likewise, though we may focus on improving one character trait (such as kindness), we must not forget to control another character trait (such as temper). One who always remembers this will not err.

The Hebrew day starts at night, so the night following the 1st day of Passover is when to start the count. Be careful not to say the number until you officially count it. If asked, "What number do we count", then respond, "Last night was ___". See your Jewish prayer book for details.

Below is a guide that lists the Sefirah of each night, and gives a brief outline of what character traits to focus on and avoid. It is in no way an exhaustive listing, but captures the essence of each day's repair.

May we all return to the lofty level we were on at the giving of the Torah,
The Jewlight Staff

Key to Diagram

The Sefirot Defined:

Chesed [charity; kindness].
Gevurah [bravery; strength].
Tiferet [splendor; beauty].
Netzach [eternity; patience].
Hod [glory; diplomacy].
Yesod [foundation; basis].
Malchut [kingdom; realm].

A Guide to Improving with Sefirah

Click on the day to jump to description.

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28
29 30 31 32
33 34 35 36
37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44
45 46 47 48

1st Day - Chesed within Chesed.
Focus on: Having guests.
Avoid: Things that instill desire.

2nd Day - Gevurah within Chesed.
Focus on: Doing mitzvot [good deeds / Torah commandments].
Avoid: Paying attention to others' charity in an envious way.

3rd Day - Tiferet within Chesed.
Focus on: Bestowing honor to rabbis and distinguished people.
Avoid: Seeking credit for all the good that you do.

4th Day - Netzach within Chesed.
Focus on: Helping others.
Avoid: Doing anything that might make others do something prohibited.

5th Day - Hod within Chesed.
Focus on: Making an effort to make peace with someone you don't get along with well.
Avoid: Immodest situations.

6th Day - Yesod within Chesed.
Focus on: Making time for someone special in your life.
Avoid: Contributing to a conversation involving gossip.

7th Day - Malchut within Chesed.
Focus on: Helping a religious organization.
Avoid: Getting benefit or recognition for your generosity.

8th Day - Chesed within Gevurah .
Focus on: Study Torah in merit of someone who is sick or needy.
Avoid: Over-admiring someone's spouse.

9th Day - Gevurah within Gevurah.
Focus on: Having a proper reverence for Hashem.
Avoid: Becoming jealous or envious.

10th Day - Tiferet within Gevurah .
Focus on: Studying Torah for its own sake.
Avoid: Trying to outdo someone else.

11th Day - Netzach within Gevurah .
Focus on: Trying to do the Will of Hashem.
Avoid: Seeing faults in others.

12th Day - Hod within Gevurah .
Focus on: Making peace with fellow Jews.
Avoid: Dwelling on monetary injustice.

13th Day - Yesod within Gevurah .
Focus on: Trying to see Hashem in nature.
Avoid: Keeping up appearances.

14th Day - Malchut within Gevurah .
Focus on: Having extra concentration in prayer.
Avoid: Coveting someone else's possessions.

15th Day - Chesed within Tiferet .
Focus on: Supporting Torah scholars.
Avoid: Wishing that others would give you honor.

16th Day - Gevurah within Tiferet .
Focus on: Studying halacha [Torah law].
Avoid: Taking advantage of others.

17th Day - Tiferet within Tiferet.
Focus on: Seeking the truth and happiness in Torah study.
Avoid: Self-recognition or honor.

18th Day - Netzach within Tiferet .
Focus on: Studying Mussar [morals/ethics].
Avoid: Priding oneself in finding exceptions to the law.

19th Day - Hod within Tiferet .
Focus on: Trying to make others happy.
Avoid: Getting upset with someone who doesn't honor you.

20th Day - Yesod within Tiferet .
Focus on: Trying to do the right thing.
Avoid: Making yourself look good by putting others down.

21st Day - Malchut within Tiferet .
Focus on: Looking for the good in others.
Avoid: Doing things to impress others.

22nd Day - Chesed within Netzach .
Focus on: Visiting the sick.
Avoid: Prohibited things that you secretly desire.

23rd Day - Gevurah within Netzach .
Focus on: Trying to view others as better than yourself.
Avoid: Seeking revenge.

24th Day - Tiferet within Netzach.
Focus on: Soul-searching to improve a bad character trait.
Avoid: Stretching the truth in order to make yourself look good.

25th Day - Netzach within Netzach.
Focus on: Humility, and meekness.
Avoid: Prohibited things and causing trouble or strife.

26th Day - Hod within Netzach .
Focus on: Admitting that something was your fault.
Avoid: Arguments.

27th Day - Yesod within Netzach.
Focus on: Getting along with everyone.
Avoid: Publicizing flaws of others.

28th Day - Malchut within Netzach.
Focus on: How insignificant you are in comparison to the universe.
Avoid: Causing others to be jealous by flaunting possessions or wealth.

29th Day - Chesed within Hod.
Focus on: Helping others to seek peace.
Avoid: Becoming upset over something you desire, but can't have.

30th Day - Gevurah within Hod.
Focus on: Having faith and trust in Hashem.
Avoid: Being angry that someone else has something that you deserve.

31st Day - Tiferet within Hod.
Focus on: Studying about the future redemption.
Avoid: Getting upset if someone makes you look bad or outdoes you.

32nd Day - Netzach within Hod.
Focus on: Acknowledging when you are wrong.
Avoid: Blaming others.

33rd Day - Hod within Hod.
Focus on: Seeking peace.
Avoid: Getting upset, angry, or enraged.

34th Day - Yesod within Hod.
Focus on: Not allowing stress to bother you.
Avoid: Retaliating if someone insults you.

35th Day - Malchut within Hod.
Focus on: Bringing peace between a husband and wife.
Avoid: Getting upset about losing money.

36th Day - Chesed within Yesod.
Focus on: Spending some quality time with a loved one or children.
Avoid: Euphemisms, cursing, and dirty jokes.

37th Day - Gevurah withinYesod.
Focus on: Enjoying nature or a tranquil moment.
Avoid: Humiliating others.

38th Day - Tiferet within Yesod.
Focus on: Relaxing with a nice Torah story.
Avoid: Slandering others.

39th Day - Netzach withinYesod.
Focus on: Saying you are sorry.
Avoid: Criticizing others.

40th Day - Hod within Yesod.
Focus on: Listening to others.
Avoid: Picking a fight.

41st Day - Yesod within Yesod.
Focus on: Calmness, serenity and satisfaction of the soul.
Avoid: Haughtiness, conceit, and gossiping.

42nd Day - Malchut within Yesod.
Focus on: Praying with a minyan [quorum] or saying Tehillim [Psalms].
Avoid: Talking during prayers.

43rd Day - Chesed within Malchut.
Focus on: Complimenting others.
Avoid: Obsessing about making money.

44th Day - Gevurah within Malchut.
Focus on: Trying to remember that the King of the universe is watching over you.
Avoid: Competition.

45th Day - Tiferet within Malchut.
Focus on: Delving into the secrets of Torah.
Avoid: Using material objects to give you status or honor.

46th Day - Netzach within Malchut.
Focus on: Keeping Shabbat [the Sabbath] holy.
Avoid: Showing off.

47th Day - Hod within Malchut.
Focus on: Consoling someone who is going through a difficult time.
Avoid: Getting angry when things break or don't work right.

48th Day - Yesod within Malchut.
Focus on: Praying for someone else's needs.
Avoid: Bragging about yourself or your possessions.

49th Day - Malchut within Malchut.
Focus on: Spiritualism.
Avoid: Materialism.

May we all return to the lofty level we were on at the giving of the Torah,

The Jewlight Staff

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