Like you, as a parent, I often find myself counting; three, two one… The counting usually comes immediately after saying something like, “Turn off the iPad” or “Put your shoes on”. What is it about this long-standing parenting technique that is so motivating to children? What is it about counting?
Right now we are in the middle of the Jewish season of counting known as Sefirat Ha-Omer. Beginning on the second night of Passover the Omer is when we count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. The purpose of the Omer has changed throughout Jewish history, but the counting has always remained. In the Torah, our agricultural ancestors counted their daily offering of an omer’s worth of the new barley crop. Later as Shavuot became associated with celebrating Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah) the counting served to make a spiritual connection between the evolution of the Jewish people, from enslaved to taking on the responsibility of the gift of Torah at Shavuot. As the story of the Jewish people has continued to evolve the Omer became not only a time of counting from one event to another, but a period of time in its own right. For some people the Omer is a mourning period in which weddings do not take place, and people don’t shave in memory of various tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people.
This year we are using the Omer period to review each of the 7 middot/character attributes of our Keshet of Kavod. The Omer is 49 days or 7 weeks of 7 days giving us an opportunity to view our spiritual and ethical growth through a mathematical lens. Each week of the Omer is a different middah and each day of the Omer is a different middah. When they intersect on a particular day we can think about how those two attributes work together to help us be our best selves. You can check out our colorful Keshet of Kavod Omer Counter at the top of the main stairs to see what it’s all about.
Today is the 26th day of the Omer and tonight begins the 27th day of the Omer, which in the lives our students means that there are only 6 more days until Lag B’Omer the 33rd day of the Omer, which at our school is a day of celebration, spirited athletic competition and ruach and this year will also be the walkathon.