Numbering Our Days

Found In: Counting the Omer, Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat

As we count our days, weeks, and months, we are reminded that in every moment we have the potential to recreate ourselves and the world around us. 
 
In the book of Bereishit (Genesis), the first book of the Torah, we read “there was evening and there was morning, [the] first day.” Each act of creation was counted in its own time. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel teaches that creation did not happen only once.  Rather, creation is a constant process; every moment in time can be viewed as an act of creation. This understanding of creation invites us to participate in its unfolding process. Marking time with awareness and intention is one way to do that. And when we do this, we connect with Bereishit’s primal acts of creation. New things, experiences and ideas are created through recognition—what we notice and recognize are then created.
 
Paying attention to time is at the heart of Jewish living; sanctifying time is how we make each moment holy. The Jewish calendar encourages us to create meaning by counting time:
 
  • Each week we count six days before arriving at the seventh and holiest day, Shabbat.
  • We count the days of each month, noticing how the moon waxes and wanes from the new moon to full moon.  We count down the days until we again rejoice with the psalms of Hallel as we celebrate Rosh Chodesh.
  • And currently we are in the period of counting the Omer, in which we count the seven weeks between Passover after Shavuot. As we move from redemption to revelation we recall the creation of the Israelite community as they moved from slavery to freedom.  We also have the opportunity to notice these same qualities within our own lives; letting go of that which enslaves us and making space for the creation of new openings and points of connection.
As we count our days, weeks, and months, we are reminded that creation is a continual process. Creation is happening all around us, and every moment can lead us to acts of (re)creating ourselves and the world around us.