How to Count the Omer Pt. 2: Counting
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to count. Just a few moments of stopping and bringing your attention to each day is rich spiritual practice. Count even if you don’t have the time or inclination to do so with kavanah (intention, reflection). Simply counting each night reminds us that everything passes. Simply counting strengthens our ability to stand in the moment, to give thanks and let go.
• We count at night because the Jewish day begins at sundown. It is traditional to wait until you see three stars in the sky before counting.
• We count standing to remember that our ancestors stood in the fields to wave their Omer offerings.
• If you forget to count one night and remember the next day, take a moment and count. If you forget a few nights in a row, locate where you are on the journey and begin anew.
• You might find it helpful to put a reminder about counting in a place where it will be easily noticed.
• You also might want to mark off the days and weeks on a calendar, perhaps even using different colored markers for each week.
• Many people have found it helpful to keep a journal through the 49 days.
• Some have found it helpful to find partners for the counting, either to count together or simply to remind each other to count and to share their experiences.
• Above all, make the counting work for you. Be surprised at what arises.
The Omer teachings you will see here and can receive as nightly email reminders by signing up for our mailing list, are taken from Rabbi Yael Levy's Omer guide, Journey through the Wilderness, which is available as a whole in print or as an ebook.
The daily teachings will begin Saturday April 20, 2019, and continue to Shavuot, June 8. Also this year, for the first time, A Way In is offering the opportunity to count together one night a week on Zoom, guided live on video by Rabbi Yael Levy. Every Monday evening Rabbi Yael will offer a teaching about the week and the day of the Omer, and we will stand together and count the new day. Counting together strengthens and helps inspire our experience and practice. Go to instructions for connecting with Zoom.
The practice as well as Rabbi Yael were featured in a 2015 New York Times article.