|Week of March 28, 2010 Shabbat Pesach Chol Hamoed, Nissan 19, 5770|
This weeks Parasha has no name. It is part of the Parasha of Ki Tisa which we read a few weeks ago. It is about the 13 attributes of Mercy and the Nesher (Eagle). Please see my email from last year and my email from Ki Tisa 5770.
During this week will be the Holiday of Pesach and the starting of the counting of the Omer during the second Sedar. The counting of the Omer is a very important Mitzvah but not every one understands it as important. I will be discussing the Omer during this email in the hopes that people will enhance their participation in the counting of the Omer.
Please understand that this is a period of 50 days that have enhanced universal energy. If one has built their vessel by cleansing the Chametz (ego) from themselves they will be able to handle this energy. If one has not done this spiritual work properly then the period will be one of chaos. That is why it is recommended to not start new ventures like a business or a marriage during this period of the Omer. You may not have cleansed yourself completely. Now lets start our study of the Omer.
First lets look at the words: Sephirat HaOmer spelled this way: ????? ?????
On the physical level Sephirat means to count; it also is the name of the Sephirot which are the tools that HaShem created to transform his infinite energy to be able to be finite and be revealed in the physical world. The Mekubalim teach that during these 7 weeks from Pesach to Shavuot each of the 7 lower Sephirot become revealed and can be used as cleansing tools for our preparation for the Light of Pesach to become the Light of Shavuot.
This means the Light of Pesach which we did not earn becomes the Light of Torah which we earn by counting the Omer.
An Omer is a unit of measure. It is also the First Fruit of Barley that was brought to the Temple in Temple Times to be sacrificed. Omer means a "sheaf". But this word is specific with the direct article "the" attached to it. It is not any sheaf. It is a specific sheaf brought to the Temple as described.
As we do with our own names let us use the tool the Mekubalim teach us to permute the letters to understand the deeper significance of a word.
The last two letters of Omer - Mem Resh spells the word Mar which means bitter. In reverse Mar becomes Ram which means elevated. This means we have an ability to transform a bitter experience to an elevated experience.
In fact if we read the letters backward (from left to right) they spell the word elevate the Vav Ayin Hay. This can be understood as Elevate the Vav Hay of HaShem's Name using your Ayin - your eye. Ayin means eye as well as being a reference to Chochma one of the upper level Sephirot. So the method to transform bitter to elevate is to use our Chochma - our wisdom.
The Torah uses an unusual word choices to teach us about the Omer. It does not say count 49 days. it says count 7 Weeks of Sabbaths. This led to a very difficult breach within the Children of Israel. One group said that you start counting the day after Pesach and the other group said you start counting the day after the Shabbat after Pesach, which is Yom Echad or Sunday. This is a very important dispute and it was not truly ever settled. Although the Sadia Gaon about 900 CE wrote a strong argument that caused most people to accept starting the count of the Omer the day after Pesach. Why is this important? because the day one starts counting establishes the day one receives the Torah!
Due to this disagreement, most people count 2 ways. One way is to count the number of days 1 then 2 then 3 etc. The other way is to count the number of days and weeks. This means we count day 4 of week 2 or day 6 of week 6 etc.
Now the Mekubalim, especially the ARI teaches us to count a third method. In that method we use the Spherot. So the third method is to count Hesed S'B' Hesed down to Malchut S'B'Malchut. This is a total of 49 days.
The Ari also teaches us to use the 42 Letter Name of God called the Ana Bekoach prayer to assist us in the counting and cleansing associated with each day. This 42 letter name is also 49 Letters. Another tool we can use for this cleansing of ourselves to reach a level to merit receiving the Torah is to use Psalm 67 which has 7 verses totaling 49 words and the middle verse has 49 Letters.
Unfortunately in most synagogues this process even if done with all 3 methods is done quickly because people want to get home to eat dinner. When done with strong Kavenah (intention) using the Hebrew Letters involved we actually cleanse away our personal and national mistakes. I hope you take the time to do this this year. If you have any questions about where to stop each day and what is the energy of each days cleansing, Omer Links please click here, for a list of each days Kavenah.
This is an important Mitzvah and i hope you will take the time during this period of the Omer to study more about this Mitzvah.
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Announcement 3: This is a weekly e-letter about the Parasha. Sometimes there will be all of the links - sometimes due to time limitations there will not be be all of the links.
One of the main purposes of the Mitzvah of Hearing the Torah on Shabbat Morning is to receive the Metaphysical Energy we will need during the next week. Please strive to hear the Torah Reading each week for this benefit.
Chanoch Ben Yaacov
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