From the end of Passover until the beginning of Shavuot (49 days, 7 weeks), Jews count the Omer. An Omer is an ancient measuring system, associated with grain. The holiday has evolved in a number of ways:
- A celebration of Harvest. Probably the original ritual of the holiday was around spring and reaping grain. In temple times, people provided offerings of wheat or barley.
- A celebration of the Jewish Narrative. The Rabbis link the story of Exodus to Shavuot, by explaining it as the link between freedom and receiving the Torah.
- A celebration of mindfulness. The Kabbalists or Jewish mystics, created a breakdown of attributes for each day and week as a way of turning inward and improving the self.
We are almost finished with counting the Omer. Only a few weeks left. Look up what day we’re on with the Homer Calendar (as in Homer Simpson). For a daily Omer reflection, check-in on the Meaningful Life Center.
An Homage to Teachers and Learning
The Omer is considered a period of semi-mourning, because thousands of Rabbi Akiba’s students died around the time of the Omer. On Lag B’omer (the 33rd day of the Omer), however, we stop and celebrate another great teacher: Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar (the foremost kabbalistic text). This is a time to consider: Who are my teachers? Am I still learning and growing? Did I ever tell my favorite teacher how much I appreciate what they did for my life? Who can I teach? Who is counting on me for education?