Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
In the past you’ve written about a special meditation to do after
Passover. Can you remind me please?
Getting More Religious
Dear Getting More Religious:
In Judaism, the time between the second night of Passover and
Shavuous is considered a very special time. In mystical Judaism it is
used to “count the omer.” The practice ties to the intervening 49 days,
in which we do special meditations to contemplate what it means to
leave a predictable past and to open ourselves to new ways of seeing
and being. You can google for the visuals, but the meditations are tied
to seven positions on the tree of life. Each is an attribute of the divine,
and also an attribute of self as we mirror the divine. There’s one week
devoted to each of these: loving-kindness; restraint; harmony; zeal;
splendor; foundation; living in the earthly kingdom. Counting the omer
teaches us how to examine and illuminate these traits. Along the way
we can bring some light to our hidden, darker, places, and improve at
least a little into our better selves.
If you’ve never done this before, keep it simple. For the first week
simply concentrate on chesed, loving-kindness. Every evening, every
morning, and a few times during the day, really take it in. That you
are loved by a loving G-d. And your job is to reflect that love back into
the world. The second week is gevurah, restraint and boundaries.
Think about where you’re too tight and where you’re too codependent.
Where your boundaries are impermeable. Where you’re too
judgmental. Where you need to soften. You get the idea.
Google to find everything from a women’s omer to very orthodox ones.
There’s places to sign up for daily omer reminders. And numerous
interpretations of the sephirot and their interactions. You can listen to
others, or to yourself. Journaling the omer is a wonderful practice.
Your scribbles and questions matter as much as your insights and
answers. It’s hard to keep it up for 49 days. But go as long and deep
as you can.