Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is the Counting of the Omer?“
An Omer is a sheaf gathered from produce that is harvested and tied together. The spiritual meaning of “Omer” is a share (count, numbering) of levels that we attain, which are seven levels of successive connection. The connection becomes stronger and tighter on each level, and we constantly count our seven Sefirot in such a process, namely the Sefirot of Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malchut.
Each of these Sefirot is made of another seven Sefirot, for instance, Hesed of Hesed, Gevura of Hesed, Tifferet of Hesed, Netzach of Hesed and so on. Seven times seven equals 49, which is where the 49 days discussed in the Torah about the Omer count come from.
During the Omer count, we undergo introspection and scrutiny of our inner qualities in how they connect to one Omer with all the rest. Such connection is different to that which helped the people of Israel escape from Egypt. The Omer count starts on the second day of Passover. It is a time when we each scrutinize in what Sefira and states we perform corrections on our desire to receive.
We connect more and more among each other, i.e., adding to our bundle of sheaves, until we eventually discover ourselves standing at the foot of Mount Sinai. The spiritual meaning of Mount Sinai is a mountain of hatred (“Sinai” from the word, “Sinah” [“hatred”]). It is when we discover the tremendous size of the ego that separates us from connecting to each other and with the Creator. We arrive at this state on the day 50 of the Omer count, i.e., during the process of correcting ourselves in order to become increasingly connected.
In other words, the more we connect, the more we discover our inborn ego blocking us from genuinely connecting. However, together with the discovery of our immensely divisive egoistic nature, we also develop a great desire to connect, which becomes expressed as the condition of “Arvut” (“mutual guarantee”). That is, we want to be connected to each other in one Omer, but we lack the strength to annul our egos. We thus agree to the Torah’s conditions and method to increasingly connect and thus gradually correct the ego, and we also do not outright eliminate the ego.
The Omer count thus represents the start of our progress toward a deep spiritual connection among each other and with the Creator—the force of love and bestowal that connects us. It describes a process that we undergo toward a more corrected future state of positive connection among each other, where on the way to such a state, we discover the vastness of our ego standing in the way of our connection. We experience several inner contradictions and paradoxes on this path, and ultimately a tiny point within us—our spiritual desire, called a “point in the heart”—lets us scale Mount Sinai, where our egoistic selves are unable to.
The idea of a major obstacle in the form of the ego that stands in our way to positively connect was also expressed in the story about the Tower of Babel. However, with Mount Sinai, it assumes a completely different form, and exists on a whole new level. Specifically, it is in that we have passed through the states of Babylon and the exodus from Egypt, and we start understanding that if we rise above the ego, then at its peak, we will discover the Creator in our connection.
Spirituality is attained through opposite states residing in the same place. We aim at increasing our positive connection to each other, and discover a massive ego in the process, i.e., pride, arrogance, and our failure to control such states, and we also agree to lower our heads and accept the need to correct our ego in order to genuinely connect and discover the Creator—the force of love and bestowal dwelling in our connection.
Based on “Secrets of the Eternal Book” on May 28, 2014. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.