We count each precious from the second day of Pesach for forty-nine days, until the festival of Shavuot. This is known as the Counting of the Omer. Interpretations abound as the reasoning behind this Mitzvah, but I’d like to focus on a wonderful Kabbalistic tradition surrounding this marking of each night, the eve of each day, each unit of the Omer.
The Kabbalists see this period of seven weeks as an opportunity to prepare for Shavuot, the Chag in which we rejoice in the receiving of the Torah at Sinai. It is seen as a penitential period as well as a time for the uplifting of consciousness to make ourselves ready to accept the Revelation.
The forty-nine days form a multiplication of seven times the seven Sefirot. Sefirot are defined as the aspects of both Divine and human personalities and are:
~Gevurah (power, judgment, including anger)
~Yesod (the foundation, including sexual energy)
~Malchut (kingship, authority)
Each of these attributes contains all seven within itself, sort a wheel within a wheel. Making a total of forty-nine inner aspects of the Divine/human self. On each night of counting, we seek to restore or elevate within ourselves the combination of sefirot that belong to that day. For example, the first day is assigned the Chesed/Chesed combination. On that first day, we should try to summon up the love within the love, the purest, most selfless love we can find within our souls. On the second day, we focus on the Gevurah within the Chesed, the judgment or anger within our love. This progression is applied throughout the Omer period.
In this way, Counting of the Omer is not just a liturgical exercise but a meditative and morally restorative exercise, purging the self and preparing it to stand again at Sinai. We consider Shavuot to be a recreation of the receiving of Torah, and that all Jewish souls were there for that momentous occasion.