Photo by Sebastien Gabriel on Unsplash

For Jews, we’re in the middle of “counting the Omer”. It’s not a commonly-known tradition, even among Jews, so here’s a brief explanation:

This tradition of Counting the Omer is rooted in the Biblical mitzvah of counting the 49 days between the Jewish holidays of Pesach and Shavuot when the first sacrifices of the barley and wheat offerings were made. Kabbalists added their own psycho-spiritual context to it.

Shavuot is when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai.

The Omer is counted every evening after nightfall.

On the 33rd day, there’s a tradition of celebrating with a bonfire.

I had a daily writing habit here on Medium in April 2018 and regularly used this tradition as a writing prompt. Here’s the first one. I want to go back and link to each of them in each of them, but not right now.

In Kabbalah, each of the seven weeks of the Omer-counting is associated with one of the seven lower sefirot. Sefirot are divine attributes or emanations which are manifested in each of the Four Worlds and are the source of the corresponding ten faculties of the soul. Each day of each week is also associated with one of these same seven sefirot, creating forty-nine permutations. The Kabbalists explain that the 49 days that connect Passover with Shavuot correspond to the 49 drives and traits of the human heart. How do you get 49 from 7? 7x7.

The seven attributes assigned to each week are also assigned to each day of the week and combined. The first attribute is “loving-kindness,” and so both the first week and the first day of each week are associated with loving-kindness. The first day is associated with loving-kindness within loving-kindness. Read more in this piece that I published last year.

I haven’t paid as close attention to it this year, but I have noted a couple of inspiring thoughts from Chabad’s “Omer Counter” app. One that I noticed two weeks ago:

The notion of givers & takers.

The daily meditation in the app says this:

Our view of the world and its Creator’s view are very different.

From our perspective, there is always a giver and a taker. Whether the merchandise be knowledge, affection, or money — somebody always comes out on top and the other on the bottom.

In the Creator’s view, giver and taker are one. The taker is really giving and the giver, receiving.

For without the opportunity to give, the giver would be forever imprisoned within his own self.

I put this writing prompt on my content calendar last week, but it seems relevant to what I wrote about yesterday.

The giver and the taker are one.

This is similar to statements such as, “It’s better to give than to receive”.

In the context of yesterday’s post, sharing one’s experience — “industry secrets” as some much call that knowledge — helps everyone involved, including the giver.

Of course, a rabbi would talk about the Creator’s view about giving and taking. No one can say for sure what the “creator’s” view would be, but we can interpret that view from texts such as the bible. It’s all interpretation.

Religion is traditionally based on love. Regardless of whether you’re Jewish, Christian or one (or more) of many other faiths, loving each other and loving the idea of “god” is at the core. God is often characterized as benevolent. According to both Old and New Testaments, “God” created us in their image.

I see the bible/Torah as a storybook full of metaphors.

I don’t know what Rachel (of yesterday’s post) believes in the context of religion, but her husband is actively Jewish, and she is clearly a good person that knows the joy of giving. She recognizes the importance of sharing.

In a post that I published in March and titled “Do You Have One True Passion In Life?” I revealed that helping people is one of the two things that make me happiest in life. Some variation of the word “help” appears 24 times in that 3,355-word post. Here’s a word cloud that I’ve generated with the text of that post:

I also said, “If people close to me decline my genuine offer to help it often hurts me, and I have to remind myself that this is my issue, not theirs.”

I also admitted that while my desire to help often comes from the heart, it also often comes from the ego. A heart-centred willingness to help is so much better. It’s more god-like. A desire to help can also be motivated by boredom, and that’s not good either.

Not long ago, someone physically took over a task that I was doing while I was doing it. She said, “I’ll do that, I’m not doing anything right now.” As she walked away I muttered, “Yeah, but I was doing that.”

Her actions were oblivious and selfish in a negative way, prompted by boredom rather than selflessness.

It took away my purpose at that moment.

If I wanted or needed help, that would have been a loving moment. Instead, it was one that resulted in resentment.

You also have to respect when it’s not the right moment to step in and the action should, ideally, come from the right place. As the reality TV show cliche goes, you should be there for the “right” reason.

Rather than feel resentment, I chose to flip the script and rewrite the scenario in my head to be grateful. I never 100% found gratitude to apply to that moment, but I see it. It’s there in theory but it never fully absorbed because it didn’t feel authentic.

As I often quote, including in that post from March, “To love for the sake of being loved is human, to love for the sake of loving is angelic.”

You get back what you put in. When you share, others share. When you step into your light, you permit others to do the same.

There’s no real distinction between “giving” and “receiving” because they’re the same thing, two sides of the same coin.

It feels good to give, and everyone wins.

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