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  • Writer's pictureJordan Drayer

Counting the Omer - First Day

To see the YouTube video of this blog, go here:

Hi everyone, I'm Jordan, voice actress, cat mom, and someone who loves trying new things. Today is the first day of the Omer. What is the Omer? It's a time of 49 days between the second night of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot, when the Torah was received from God. Whether you're Jewish or not, believe this story or not, I love counting the Omer because of the spiritual development it's become. The spiritual and mystic sides of Judaism took this as a time to reflect. After all, if we want to be ready to receive a holy book, it seems like a good idea to prepare spiritually, right?

So we're not just counting days; we're doing some inward thinking. Maybe you've seen this tree (below). This is the sefirot, which the kabbalists made to represent different qualities of God. Yes, it sounds like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII for a reason.

Anyway, the Omer focuses on the bottom seven. What we're going to do is focus on one quality per week and how it looks through the other six. For example, we start we chesed, meaning loving-kindness. We'll look at the chesed of chesed today, but tomorrow we'll do the gevurah, or strength, of chesed. It goes on from there until we've done all seven for chesed, and then we start the next week with the chesed of gevurah and go through that one. That's how we end up at 49 days.

If you just want something to journal, meditate, or talk about for the next 49 days, I hope you'll join me as I count the Omer. This is my fifth time doing it, but first by video, and each time I learn more about each sefirah or middah.

Chesed of Chesed

The love of love. Let's define love first. To me, it's respect, empathy, kindness, and obligation all rolled into one. And that's actually close to the Hebrew word chesed. It's one of those words that difficult to translate into another language. One rabbi suggested it's love as covenantal obligation. So there you go.

When we say "love your neighbor," no one means romantically! They mean be nice to them, respect their space and stuff, don't judge or make fun of them. Instead of belittling them or being violently angry for something they do to you, directly or indirectly, temper your anger or snide comments with patience and speak evenly.

I know, this can be hard when it's something done over and over again. If they won't treat you with respect-love back, like they keep using your brush when you've already told them no, maybe remove the temptation. Hide the brush. They keep parking on your lawn? Put flowers or a bush there. I'm just spitballing, but if talking isn't working, never resort to violence. That's the opposite of love. And remember, "when they go low, we go high," so don't start giving them the same treatment back.

Love can also be obligation. You don't want to go to an event, but you know it's important to your loved one, so you go anyway. We've got to compromise as well, and if you don't, the relationship breaks. Love can be hard work!

But I love love. I love stories of people doing nice things that were unexpected, of women loving themselves enough to stand up for their rights and climb forbidden mountains, drive cars, go to school, and train hunting birds.

I got over years of nail biting by loving them more, filing and painting them instead. Instead of feeling like a burden or that I didn't deserve nice things, I learned to love myself more by buying these nice things, such as jewelry, nice boots, and even upgrading my phone every four years.

So today, think about how you currently show love to yourself and others and how you could show more. I know I could call my parents more often. Little things like this! See you next time.

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