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.

Explore our blog:

Gilgamesh, the Flood, and the Garden

R. Klayman takes a look at the Epic of Gilgamesh and finds an overlooked parallel: Gilgamesh’s plant of immortality and the Garden of Eden.

Life’s Path

Rabbi Rich Nichol shares a few more nuggets of wisdom while surrounded by the beauty of the Northeastern autumn.

Stay Focused on the Goal

Pressing on when you feel spiritually exhausted can feel impossible. R. Hillel shares an inspiring perspective on this week’s parasha.

Listening to God’s Silence

In this time of uncertainty, R. Saal explores the spaces between when God speaks to us, and how we can rest in him even when he seems absent.

A Moment in Nature

Take a moment to rest and enjoy HaShem’s beautiful creation with Dr. Rich and his wife Sue.

A Time for Rain

Rabbi Michael Hillel reflects on the nature of rain as a blessing from Hashem and what its timing and frequency can tell us about Hashem’s grace.

Old Dog, New Tricks?

Dr. Vered shares how her life has taken many unexpected twists and turns—and how MJTI can help you open a new, exciting chapter full of learning.

Inspiring Jewish Women: Gertrude Elion

Dr. Vered is taking a moment to reflect on an inspiring Jewish woman responsible for many of the medical advancements we benefit from today.

Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah ends the Torah reading cycle and begins it anew. Read about the holiday’s symbolism and how it deepens our relationship w/ HaShem.

Shemini Atzeret

Shemini Atzeret marks the beginning of prayers for the rainy season in Israel. Dr. Vered breaks down the holiday and its differences from Sukkot.

Pin It on Pinterest