COUNTING THE OMER – This prayer is traditionally recited between sundown and sunrise of each day.
Day 49: Malchut she b’Malchut
The Blessing (Day 49):
Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sephirat ha’omer.
Blessed are you, G-D, Source of Everything, You make us holy through your mitzvot, commanding us to count the Omer.
Ha yom arbaim v tisha yom, shehem shivah shavuot yomim l’Omer.
Today is the forty-ninth day, which makes seven weeks days of the Omer.
Week Seven – Malchut (Indwelling Presence/Manifestation)
Day Forty-nine: Malchut she b’Malchut (Indwelling Presence within Indwelling Presence) – BETWEEN FEET/AT MOUTH to BETWEEN FEET/AT MOUTH
Today is the forty-ninth day of the Omer, the last day of the counting of the Omer. It is the final day of this reflective and contemplative time period, as we move from Passover and our freedom from slavery, to Shavuot and the giving of the Torah for us to receive. Having done the spiritual work of the past seven weeks, moving from the opportunities opened to us after becoming free (at Passover) to the realization of our potential, moving from mere functioning to godliness. At this time, we know ourselves a little better and are more ready to trust and to receive. Today is a day for personal reflection.
Traditionally, this final night before Shavuot is Tikkun Lei Shavuot, a time for staying up all night with a group of people studying Torah, for a final spiritual preparation. Although this is not a year in which I can do this, I can appreciate the beauty of this tradition. Especially that it is done WITH other people in a group, rather than alone. During this time of COVID-19 restrictions, when so many of us have had to be separated for family and friends, from our community in so many different ways, I can appreciate even more the loveliness of people coming together to share their thoughts and ideas in the world. So much of this time of counting the Omer is done for individual self-reflection. I think it is beautiful and profound to have a tradition that culminates with a shared approach, a reminder that we are at our best when we share our thoughts, experiences, and lives with others. Understanding our own selves is the first step, but it means much less if it is not shared. Selfishness is not one of the Sephirot, and is certainly not a Jewish value.
As you may have discerned through these writings, my favorite interpretation of Malchut is not so much Indwelling Presence of G-D (although of course I do appreciate that interpretation as well). It is Manifestation. I connect very much with the approach of Malchut being connected to both the FEET as well as the MOUTH in our physical bodies. When I chose to become Jewish, much of it had to do with my understanding of this religion as one that requires you to DO something, one that views what we give back to the world as among the most important aspects of the religion, and I’m not speaking monetarily. Without discussing my direct reasons for leaving the faith I grew up in and pursuing a Jewish path instead, I can say that I was drawn to Judaism as a way to share with others a basic belief that what we DO matters most. For this reason, I prefer to interpret today, Malchut she b’Malchut, as Indwelling Presence within MANIFESTATION. It is G-D’s presence within us that we must Manifest into the world in some way.
Over the last few days, as we have moved closer to this final day of Malchut she b’Malchut, there is a common phrase that kept spiraling through my head, with a clearer meaning than ever before. I believe it is the perfect phrase to end this year’s Omer period, and in many ways, it is a call to action for us all now that we have done the preparation work to greet Shavuot and receive the Torah and its teachings. It is now time to “Walk the Walk, and Talk the Talk.”
**My approach to Counting the Omer has come from and been inspired by Rabbi Min Kantrowitz’s amazing book “Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide” and I have profound gratitude for Rabbi Kantrowitz for providing the blueprint for this experience for so many of us.