Counting the Omer: Day 40 — Change of Plans
By Jay Jacobs
Well, this is a little awkward. My plan was to find a nice spiritual or Kabbalist story to relate to counting the Omer today. Maybe a mystical story about the letter yud and how it takes the shape of a finger like the tip of a had, which we use to read from the Torah or find a story about a mythical creature like the giant flying Ziz, or the tiny yet powerful Queen of the Ants. That didn’t happen because sometimes life gets in the way but I always have a contingency plan. Or two. Or three.
In counting the omer, this is the week of YESOD, the foundation, the blueprint, and plan. This is the week for engineers like me. We focus on the middah of SEDER or order. All your actions and possessions should be orderly — each and every one in a set pace and at a set time. Let your thoughts always be free to deal with that which lies ahead of you.
It should be no surprise to those who know that I like to plan things out for most activities. Not mention having a plan b (or c or d). Doing a little research before going on a business trip or just doing some casual research is right up my alley, but research isn’t always limited to cold, hard facts. Sometimes a fictional anthology gets me out of my routine. My current read is a collection called Hieroglyph. The book was a joint effort from Arizona State University where the authors moderate forum discussion which eventually turned into short stories with the goal of inspiring for the future. Each story is set in the near future covering everything from border cities and immigration to life on a Martian moon. My favorite piece has been a story about an Angeleno hacker and his Burning Man experiences in the desert. His wandering adventures remind me of counting the Omer to mark the exodus from Egypt until the receiving the Torah. In fact, listening to everyone else’s readings on the ritual committee has contributed to mark the Omer has been the most meaningful and enjoyable part to me. Sometimes I’ll get a good idea from someone else’s counting or hope they forgive me when I use an idea ahead of them. It’s been a spiritual exercise that we’ve all been sharing and learning with each other.
For today, day forty of the Omer. HOD of YESOD, try to submit to someone else’s schedule or rules.