Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov once remarked: “Know that whatever people speak about during the Days of Sefira, they are only talking about the sefirah of that day. People who understand are able to hear and know this, and if they will pay attention well to what people discuss, they will hear them talking only about the sefira of that day” (Likutey Moharan I, 182).

What does this mean and how is it relevant to us? The sefirot are the “channels” of divine creative life force or consciousness through which the unknowable divine essence is revealed to mankind. During this time between Pesach and Shavuos, known as the Days of Sefira, it is a time of potential for inner growth – for a person to work on one’s good characteristics (middot) through reflection and development of one aspect each day for the 49 days of counting the Omer.

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Each day of each week during this period is also associated with one of these same seven sefirot, creating forty-nine “permutations.”

If this sounds too heavy or too complicated for us to understand, we just need to know that Rebbe Nachman is telling us that we are all influenced by the particular sefira permutation of that particular day, and it affects our thoughts and words so much that, unbeknownst to us, someone who is on a very high spiritual level (like Rebbe Nachman) would be able to detect that particular day’s sefira in our words.

So, this Sefiras HaOmer period can be a wonderful time for reflection and self-growth in preparation for Shavuos. We can even do this without knowing the Hebrew terms and Kabbalistic concepts. Simply ask inwardly on each of the 49 days, “What is the quality of this day? What is shining from everything that’s arising in this experience?” Be present and in the moment. If we begin with the idea that everyone around us is talking about the sefira of the day in veiled terms, and we want to discover the hidden meaning of what they’re saying, what does that lead us to do? It leads us to become more attuned with the particular character trait we need to refine on that particular day.

May Hashem help us to use this special time period to its fullest potential.

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Rabbi Nosson Rossman is a rabbinic field representative for the Orthodox Union. He can be reached at nathanlrossman@gmail.com.