The Joy of Anticipation

Maybe this will seem trivial to you, but it was not for me or our family. Here is the story…

Last evening our Nichol clan celebrated the birthday of one of our adorable grandchildren. Ari Nichol turned eight and while normally Grandma, Grandpa, uncles, aunts, and cousins would show up at his home with wrapped presents in hand, COVID-19 made that impossible this time. So, we all met on a Zoom call. We sang an out-of-sync “Happy Birthday” to Ari and ate our private birthday treats in Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Funny thing… even though we knew we could not be together, I found myself looking forward to his virtual party over the past week or so. Despite the impediments, my anticipation of this screen-only event was its own source of special joy.

Anticipation…that is the essence of Counting the Omer (Hebrew: סְפִירַת הָעוֹמֶר, Sefirat HaOmer).

Beginning on the second evening of Pesach and continuing for 49 days ancient Jews living in the Land anticipated the wheat harvest by clicking off each day until the harvesting of the first amber waves of grain.  The anticipation of a successful wheat harvest would loom large in the people’s collective consciousness all Spring. Wheat was life, no question about it.

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3…

As time rolled on, a more specifically religious meaning took center stage. The period of the Omer culminated in Shavuot. It was during this holy day that the Torah was given by God to Israel.

Day 22, Day 23, Day 24…

Following his resurrection, Yeshua the Messiah awakened a deep sense of anticipation among his followers.

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49

It was the time of the Counting of the Omer. The Messiah promised the Ruach’s special appearance in Jerusalem.

Day 47, Day 48…

Whether we are functioning in the realm of the highest spiritual realities, or in the space of kiddie birthday parties, eager anticipation of good things to come is one of life’s real joys. So, each night recite the baruchot (blessings) as we anticipate Shavuot!

Day 49…

Day 50!

This post was written by MJTI President Rabbi Rich Nichol.

For more written by Rabbi Rich, read his articles Yeshua, Pesach, and the Virus, Why MJTI?, or a starter’s guide to Pirke Avot.

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