The origins of the omer count go back to when the children of Israel left Egypt they were told by Moses that 49 days after The Exodus, they would be given the Torah. The populace was so excited at the prospect of a spiritual liberation, following the physical emancipation from Egypt, they kept a count of the passing days that ended with the giving of the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai Lev.23: 15-16. And Deut.16:9, states that it is a commandment to count seven complete weeks from the day after Passover night ending with the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day. Shavuot is the festival marking the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation.
At Passover, the Jews were raised out of the Egyptian exile although they had sunken almost to the point of no return. The Exodus was unearned, a gift from God. For the next forty-nine days, however, the Jewish people worked on themselves to be able to receive the Torah on their own merit. The receiving of the Torah required spiritual elevation and active cooperation.
As soon as it is definitely night, after sundown, the one who is counting the Omer recites this blessing: “Baruch atah A-donai E-loheinu Melekh Ha-olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al S’firat Ha-omer.” (“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”) Then he or she states the Omer-count in terms of both total days and weeks and days. For example, on the 23rd day the count would be stated thus: “Today is twenty-three days, which is three weeks and two days of (or in) the Omer.” The count is said in Hebrew.
The blessing is to be recited while it is still night. If he or she remembers the count the next morning or afternoon, the count may still be made, but without a blessing. If one forgets to count a day altogether, he or she may continue to count succeeding days, but without a blessing. The period of Omer is considered to be a time of potential for inner growth, a time to work on ones good characteristics through reflection and development of one aspect each day for the 49 days of the counting.
The forty-nine-day period of counting the Omer is also a time to study, reflect, and a time of semi-mourning. The Seven emotional attributes that are developed during this time are: 1. Chesed – Lovingkindness 2. Gevurah – Justice and Discipleship 3. Tiferet – Harmony, compassion 4. Netzach – Endurance 5. Hod – Humility 6. Yesod – Bonding 7. Malchut – Sovereignty, leadership. The seven weeks further divide into 7 days making up the 49 days of the counting of the Omer. Lag Ba’omer, the thirty-third day of the Counting of the Omer, is considered to be the day in which the plague was lifted, (and/or: the day in which the rebellion saw a victory,) so on that day, all the rules of mourning are lifted up until the 34th day of the Omer, which is considered to be the day of joy and celebration).
Jewish teaching tells us that the soul of man includes these seven Basic Attributes: * 1. Love/Kindness (Chessed) 2. Vigor/Discipline (Gevurah) 3.Beauty/Harmony/Compassion (Tiferet) 4. Victory/Endurance/Determination (Netzach) 5. Humility/Devotion (Hod) 6. Foundation/Bonding/Connection (Yesod) 7. Majesty/Dignity (Malchut) As we fulfill the mitzvah of counting the days and weeks from Passover to Shavuot, each of the seven weeks is devoted to a different attribute — one week for Kindness, another week for Discipline, another for Compassion, and so on. On each of the seven days of the week we refine another of the seven aspects of the week’s attribute. For example, on the week devoted to kindness we will devote one day to refining that aspect of kindness that requires discipline and another day to refining that aspect of kindness that requires compassion, and so forth. During the week we are refining beauty, we spend one day refining that aspect of beauty that requires dignity and another day on that aspect of beauty that requires humility, until we have refined all seven aspects of beauty. Ultimately, all character traits derive from combinations of these seven basic ones. Each quality continually interacts with the others, and in so doing has the capacity to modify its expression and effect. To be whole, a character trait must incorporate all seven.
This article has Excerpts from: A spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer. Wikipedia.org; Pastor Mark Biltz, From Passover to Pentecost. (El Shaddai Ministries)