Moving With the Omer Begins Sunday, April 17
We will start each week with a live class on Sunday evenings 7:00-7:40 Pacific Time. In the live class we will explore the sefira (theme) of the week through movement practices and discussion. Each morning you will also receive a short video based on the theme of the day. The live class will be recorded so you can view it later.
The Counting of the Omer is a Jewish practice that supports contemplation, exploration and a celebration of the renewal that comes with springtime. You are welcome to join me on this journey—whatever your background in movement, or cultural or spiritual traditions. The practices are available to all, no matter one’s theology or atheology.
The counting of the Omer was first documented in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Leviticus. It marks the time between the second day of Passover, a celebration of freedom from slavery, and the beginning of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah (Hebrew Bible). It also correlates with the time of the first grains of spring leading to the first major harvest of the year.
Over the years, many different traditions have developed to count the Omer. Jewish mystics, known as Kabbalists, correlated the days of the Omer to different attributes of the divine flow of life (otherwise known as God, mystery, source of life etc.).
In Hebrew these attributes are called sephirot (sefira is the singular). The attributes can be understood as energies, qualities, emanations, etc. There are 10 of these sephirot on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and the first seven are focused on in the counting of the Omer.
The Kabbalists divided the 49 days into seven weeks of seven days. They then matched each sephira to one week. Each day of the week was also matched with one sephira. This resulted in 49 days that combined different sephirot ,with each day being comprised of two qualities—that of the day and that of the week.
The 7 sephirot are:
Chesed—Lovingkindness, Unconditional Love, Fluidity, Flexibility
Gevurah—Structure, Boundary, Discipline, Strength, Limits, Restraint
Tiferet—Harmony, Balance, Beauty
Netzach—Perseverance, Persistence, Endurance, Fortitude, Ambition
Hod—Acceptance, Splendor, Humility, Being Present with What Is
Yesod—Foundation, Support, Base, Wellspring, Generative
Malchut—Sovereignty, Presence, Leadership, Experience of the Sacred,
The Omer is traditionally acknowledged with a blessing and a literal count of the day. The blessing is done at the beginning of the day, which in Jewish tradition means just after sunset. The blessings is:
Blessed is the Spirit of the Universe, that blesses us with sacred actions and instructs us to count the Omer.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר
Baruch ata Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam asher kid’shanu b-mitz’votav v-tzivanu ahl s’firat ha-omer.
Followed by the count
Today is the __ day of the Omer, which is __ weeks and __ days of the Omer. (Weeks are not mentioned for the first six days).