Counting the Omer: Week 1

Week of Chesed (חסד) Loving Kindness

Welcome to the first week of the counting of the omer!

Remember that each week there is a “lead” sephira” and each of the others is put “within” that lead.  You’ll see it phrased as Chesed within Chesed (חסד שבחסד) or Gevirah within Chesed (גברה שבחסד).  If the concept of counting the omer is new to you — check the introduction for more about this practice.

This week in counting the omer we begin with Chesed, or “loving kindness.”  It was this concept that made me want to engage others in conversation about this whole process.  How amazing is it that after 400 years of slavery and an Exodus from Miztrayim, the first thing we are asked to explore is loving-kindness!

The first week, which explores Chesed (loving-kindness),  looks like this:

  1. Loving-kindness within Loving-kindness
  2. Strength within Loving-kindness
  3. Compassion (Beauty) within Loving-kindness
  4. Endurance within Loving-kindness
  5. Glory within Loving-kindness
  6. Connection within Loving-kindness
  7. Majesty within Loving-kindness

The question to ask with each, is “What does this mean to me?”  Each day, explore what the idea of sephira within a sephir triggers for you.  How is Strength (Gevurah) within Loving-Kindness (Chesed) different than Loving-Kindness (Chesed) within Strength (Gevurah)?  Keep a journal or just let the thoughts float to the surface.  Either way, take the moment to see what things brings up for you.

If you Count the Omer at night, then you might want to follow the tradition practices.  RitualWell.org has the full text in masculine and feminine Hebrew, transliterated, and in English.

Since there are many ways to engage with this practice, here are some of my favorites.  I hope you’ll share what techniques and resources you are using to explore, internalize, and understand the practice of counting the omer.


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Adapted from a post originally written for Peeling a Pomegranate by Kohenet Ketzirah haMa’agelet

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