Judaism Your Way


Counting the Omer, Netzach Sheh b’Netzach

Counting the Omer, Netzach Sheh b’Netzach
By Dan Yolles

In Jewish tradition, we are currently in a period of what is called counting the Omer, the 49 day period between the 2nd night of Passover and Shavuot, the holiday marking the receiving of the Torah from Mt. Sinai. While traditionally it holds agricultural implications as ‘omer’ means ‘sheaf’ or a biblical measurement of stalks of grain, it is also a spiritual journey of alignment and personal reflection coinciding with the kabbalistic sefirot or divine spheres, commonly known as the Kabbalistic tree of life.

There are 10 sefirot (spheres) of Divine energy that each carry their own attributes.

3 at the top of the tree are Divine intellect:
Keter (Crown)
Binah (Wisdom)
Chochmah (Understanding)

The next 7 are emotional attributes that are connected to the body:
Chesed (Lovingkindness)
Gevurah (Strength)
Tiferet (Harmony)
Netzach (Endurance)
Hod (Humility)
Yesod (Foundation)
Malchut (Kingship/Manifestation)

Our journey through the Omer begins at the top of the emotional attributes and each week is centered around one of the energy spheres. Each day within the week combines the energy sphere of the week with one of the others, for example in the first week, Chesed, the first day is Chesed in Chesed, the second day is Gevurah in Chesed, etc. To recognize the counting of the Omer and to connect with the energetic combinations, one can say the blessing for counting, usually at sundown or when convenient, read about the day’s energy correlation from a variety of sources, online, apps, and books, an/or meditate/contemplate on the essence of the given energy.

One of my favorite points in the proccess is known as Netzach Sheh b’Netzach, eternity within eternity, or endurance within endurance. An intention behind this energy combination is to remember to live up to your highest potential and to be fully present in your physical and emotional state by enduring endurance, or by calling in a sense of eternal eternity. As Marcus J Freed says in his book The Kabbalah Sutras: A Yogi’s Guide to Counting the Omer, “Today. Just do it. Take Action. Endure.” We invite you to take a walk, spend some time in nature, near a body of water or among the trees or stones and check in with yourself if there is something you need to do right now, to bring yourself to stand tall, to feel on top of your life, your goals, your ambitions. If you are not in a physical place to connect with nature, close your eyes, and visualize such a place that brings you a sense of endurance. Look into what may be holding you back, and weigh into ways to trample those roadblocks and live how you are meant to live, be how you are meant to be. Below you can find the blessing for counting the Omer if you wish to connect in that way.

counting of the omer in hebrew

Baruch Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu al s’firat ha Omer.

Barucha At Yah, Eloheinu Chai HaOlamim, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu al s’firat haOmer.

Blessed are you, creator of all things and beings, for giving us the special opportunity to count the Omer.

By Dan Yolles
Open Tent Be Mitzvah Educator and rabbinical student