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סדר ספירת העומר | the Order of Counting the Omer in the Spring

5 comments to סדר ספירת העומר | the Order of Counting the Omer in the Spring

  • The Hierophant

    Lauren Deutsch’s system of color correspondences for the sefirot mainly follows the light spectrum from red to deep blue, then black and purple. Her systems accords well with that of Mark Hurvitz’s 7×7 Color Grid for the Omer.

    In the widget code of Reb Seidenberg’s Omer Counter, I found a different color schema corresponding to the sefirot than the one that Lauren used in her chart. The correspondences are:

    Ḥesed = white
    Gevurah = red
    Tiferet = purple
    Netzaḥ = light pink
    Hod = dark pink
    Yesod = orange
    Malkhut = dark blue

    So I made an alternative graphic displaying this schema

    From my reading of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s chapter “Colors” in Meditation & Kabbalah (see page 181), this system corresponds closely with that of the RAMAK in Pardes Rimonim:

    Ḥesed = White and Silver
    Gevurah = Red and Gold
    Tiferet = Yellow and Purple
    Netzaḥ = Light Pink
    Hod = Dark Pink
    Yesod = Orange
    Malkhut = Blue

    From the manuscript record, I think, the system of using colors entered into kabbalistic discourse in the School of Isaac the Blind in Gerona. Here’s Moshe Idel from Mystical Techniques, section five “Visualization of Colors and Kabbalistic Prayer” (p.104):

    The earliest texts explicitly referring to this technique are those connected to the name of R. David ben Yehudah he-Hasid, a Spanish Kabbalist of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries:

    R. David said: We are not allowed to visualize the ten Sefirot, except in accordance with the rashey perakim which reach you, such as Magen David to Ḥesed and Ḥonen ha-Daat to Tiferet. Therefore, you should always visualize that color which is [attributed to the Sefirah according to] the rashey perakim, that color being the ḥashmal of the Sefirah, the ḥashmal being the covering217 [or dress] of that very Sefirah around [it]. Afterward you shall draw [downward] by your visualization the efflux [shefa] from the depth of the river to the worlds down to us—and this is the true [way], received [in an esoteric manner] by oral tradition.

    (Moshe Idel speculates that this system was probably adapted from Jewish sufis in Acco that came to Gerona in the late 13th century, adapting what they practiced from sufis that in turn adapted the system from Hindu mystics).

    I asked Lauren Deutsch about her system, specifically whether the color schema she used in this chart was something she learned from her teacher Gilla Nissan. She confirmed this was her own system.

    Andrew Shaw also reminded me of the article written by Reb Yonassan Gershom on Reb Zalman’s color schema, that also differs from that laid out by the RAMAK in Pardes Rimonim.

    Reb Zalman’s system (as expressed in his Tallis design) is as follows:

    Ḥesed = Deep and Light Purple
    Gevurah = Blue
    Tiferet = Green
    Netzaḥ = Yellow
    Hod = Orange
    Yesod = Red
    Malkhut = Brown

  • Lieba B. Ruth Lieba B. Ruth

    Wishing you a wonderful journey through the Rainbow!

  • The color scheme as explained to Reb Yonasson Gershom by R’ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi:

    In 1983, when I interviewed Reb Zalman at B’nai Or House in Philadelphia, PA, he explained it to me this way:

    GERSHOM: So, you had in mind that the “robe of light” that G-d wraps himself in to create the world, is the spectrum, that it is literally the Primal Light?

    ZALMAN: Right. And the spectrum itself has black lines, too, like you see on a spectroscope. Once I started to see it, I asked myself the question, which ones should have black lines? I saw the black lines as a keli, a “vessel of creation.” So which of the sefirot [kabbalistic levels] need to be contained? Certainly not Gevurah [strength/justice] and Malchut [Kingdom/material world], because they themselves are vessels. On the other hand, Tiferet {beauty/centeredness) and Yesod [foundation/ego] need strong ego-boundaries. Then there was the question of which stripes should be wider, and how they should be spaced…
    So it comes out like this:

    [When the tallis is worn over the head] the atarah [embroidered strip) on the tallis is Keter, the Crown, the Source of the White Light, which flows into Chochmah-Binah [Wisdom-Knowledge], still white and represented by the tallis cloth as it is draped over the head.] It then then enters Chesed [Lovingkindness or Grace], which is the wide purple stripe.

    GERSHOM: There are two shades of purple. Why is that?

    ZALMAN: Because it represents Bereshit, “In the Beginning,” the First Day of Creation. So the deep purple represents ultra-violet, just coming out of darkness. The lighter lavender (on either side of the deep purple) already has some light mixed in, the first light becoming visible to the human eye. And the whole stripe is very wide, because the nature of Chesed is broad and sweeping. Which is also why it needs the black lines to contain it.

    Now, the next stripe is tekelet-blue, representing Gevurah [strength/rigor]. This stripe represents the Second Day of Creation, when the “waters above” were separated from the “waters below.” And since is by nature a container [because it also represents halachah, Jewish law], it doesn’t need the black stripes bordering it.

    Following the Creation story, the next stripe is the Third Day, Tiferet [beauty]. Vegetation was created then, represented by green. G-d also said “It is good” twice on that day, so there are two green stripes, with the white light of Keter [Crown, one of the upper levels] coming through the middle. Tiferet [as the heart center] needs a vessel, so there are also the black lines.

    Next comes Netzach [victory], the Fourth Day, when the sun, moon, and stars were created, so they are represented by yellow. The Fifth Day was when egg-laying animals were made: all the fish, reptiles, birds, and insects. So I reprsented the sefirah of Hod [spendor] with orange, like egg yolks. Notice also that Hod and Netzach are very close together, almost like one stripe, and that they are mirror images of each other. You can’t really separate them. In fact, people confuse which is which, and there’s a lot of disagreement, some systems interpreting them exactly opposite of other systems.

    GERSHOM: Yes, I see how you have designed them very close together, almost like one stripe, but there is still some white light coming through between them. Like Aaron and Moses. Aaron does the Form of the ritual and also channels the blessings. Moses gives laws but also received revelation. Each has both active and passive elements, like the left and right brain, but more balanced, more integrated. That’s why you can’t really separate them, right?

    ZALMAN: Right. Now, the red stripe is Yesod [foundation], which can also represent Ego, so naturally it needs a very strong vessel to contain it. And because the placental mammals were created on the Sixth Day, This one is red, for the blood of life. [Editor’s note: Tiferet and Yesod also represent the Higher Self and the lower self, which is why the pattern of the red stripes “below” exactly reflects the green stripes “above,” only smaller.]

    And last of all, we come to Malchut, the Kingdom, which is Earth, represented by brown, because all things turn brown and return to the earth when they die. King David is also associated with Malchut, not only because he was a king, but also because he received everything [an attribute of Malchut] and has nothing of his own — not even his life. There’s the Midrash that the first Adam gave 70 years of his own life to King David, so that David’s very life came from Adamah, the earth. Thus the brown color.

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