Sefirat HaOmer (the counting of the Omer offering) is the counting period between the second night of Pesach and the day before Shavuot – a period of 49 days. Each night, we verbally count the days that have accumulated between these two holidays. [Count the Omer]
In the times of the Holy Temple, the counting started after an offering of barley meal was brought on the second night of Pesach. On a deeper level, barley (considered mainly an animal food product), is indicative of our status before receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai. We are empty of true Torah wisdom, and considered in a sense to act like an animal.
In this vein, the Sefirah counting serves to release from within us our built-up yearning and desire to come closer to true wisdom and to the awareness of God and His kindness in our personal lives. This wisdom is fully realized when we receive the Torah every year on Shavuot.
We count-up a period of 49 days, a multiple of the number seven. Seven represents time since a complete week is made up of seven days. Each weekday, has a unique characteristic and attribute which is rooted in the 7 lower Sefirot, or powers that God uses to channel His bounty and blessings into this world. By counting a total of 7×7, we are merging and unifying the characteristics of each Sefirah day with every other Sefirah day, and elevating ourselves above the limitation of time. Thus, the 49 day Sefirah-period can be considered to be “above time”.
This is a reflection of our yearning to come closer to God and everything else represented by His presence in this world (e.g. the Torah, the True Tzaddikim etc…) This is because yearning is also above the limitations of time. The proof is that yearning and desire can always be accessed, no matter a person’s age. Yearning doesn’t grow old! In fact developing and reconnecting to one’s inner-yearning and desire actually keep a person “young at heart and soul”. Something is only considered “dead,” once it loses its inner-resolve and desire to exist.
Therefore, the Sefirah period is a time to re-energize ourselves and reconnect to our true and ultimate purpose in this world.
By doing this, we merit to receive the deeper dimensions of the Torah which in turn deepens our connection and awareness of God in our personal lives.
May we take absolute advantage of this incredible opportunity, Amen.