Introduction - Counting of the Omer
One of the mitzvot we studied in Leviticus was the commandment to daily count off the 7 weeks between Passover (the escape from bondage) and the receipt of the Torah from Mount Sinai and to bring offerings each day to celebrate that release from the enslavement. The Omer is a measure of barley that can be presented as an offer on each of the days.
Our class is now beginning a spiritual
journey based on the idea of counting the Omer.
For Christians we could also pursue a 7 week journey. The seven weeks between Easter and Pentecost.
Judaism, like Christianity and other world religions, has a mystical tradition. One of the common elements in these mystical traditions is an interest in inner work on refining or purification of human emotional attributes.
Essentially, within mystical traditions which we will briefly describe at the outset, there are seven basic virtues/traits/emotions that express the range of human experience. When they’re in balance and in healthy and worthy function, we can live constructively and well within our freedom. When they’re out of balance and distorted, we can be enslaved.
The seven virtues/traits/emotions are:
chesed (loving-kindness), gevurah (justice and discipline), tiferet (harmony and compassion), netzach (endurance), hod (humility), yesod (bonding), and malchut (sovereignty and leadership).
The framework that we will work with and that we will follow will be to explore one of these seven in each of our seven sessions. Though many do this exercise daily, we’ll do it weekly: we’ll blend each of the other six with the one we’re focusing on that week. To illustrate, in the first session, we’ll go deeply into loving-kindness. And we’ll do it by looking at the loving-kindness of loving-kindness, as well as the discipline, compassion, endurance, bonding, and leadership of loving-kindness. The next week we’ll look similarly at justice/discipline.
This may be a bit confusing, but it will be clear to all once we get started.
Each week we will send out questions to stimulate thought and conversation before the subsequent session.
This will involve a little change of pace from our more usual study of scripture, history, and religion. But this type of exploration can be exciting and worthwhile, as we’ll be looking very deeply some of the most fundamental ideas valued most by our faith and traditions.
To help you in understanding better how this type of spiritual exploration can be done there are two links below that your can examine in advance.
Web Link: Chabad - Introduction Sefirot of the Kabbalah
Lesson 2 - Justice and Discipline