Sign In Forgot Password

Counting the Omer, Week 1

04/09/2020 08:19:52 AM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

During this time of pandemic, it seems we do a lot of counting; we are acutely aware of the days and weeks we are spending sheltered in place. However, we have an opportunity to turn to our Jewish tradition to transform our counting into a countdown of hope. The period of the Omer runs from Passover through the seven weeks leading up to Shavuout. Passover represents our freedom from slavery, Shavuout celebrates God giving us the Torah at Mount Sinai. The days in between are a time to “ready ourselves” for the gift of Torah.

This year’s season falls during a troubling time. We hope that each week we provide a sense of hope as we count; for the people we care for, and the community at large. When the day comes that we get to emerge from our physical isolation what a blessing it will be. To be sources of hope for one another now is the blessing of today.

With wishes for a safe and hopeful season,

The Spirituality Committee

Week 1 Days 1-7: April 9-15

Theme: Hope and Tzedakah

1. Make sure all are fed
Consider sending food to those who can’t easily make food for themselves. Support local restaurants and gift a meal to a neighbor, a healthcare worker or others on the front lines of fighting this pandemic.

2. Show some love
Tell someone in your family or circle of friends that you love them and why they are so special. In this time of uncertainty, the certainty of love helps us to be hopeful.

3. Use social media as spiritual media
Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor, Pinterest or whatever has been started in the last 10 minutes to post a positive message, thought, poem, picture not about you or your family, but about something you feel can help infuse hope into these difficult and challenging days.

4. Try offering a prayer in the morning
Here is an alternate version of our Nisim B’chol Yom (Blessings for Daily Miracles) written by Amy Asin

Praised be the Eternal God, Source of the Universe...

...who has implanted mind and instinct within every living being. Who has given us a new day where we are alive and we too can see the difference between day and night, between light and darkness, between true and false, and between appropriate concern and panic

...who has made me a Jew or connected to the Jewish community. Who has given me the obligation, the tools and the resources to strive to act like a human being when others may be driven by fear, homophobia, racism

...who has made be to be free. While my ability to be in physical community may be limited, help me see that I am still free to make choices every minute, every day.

...who opens the eyes of the blind. Please God, open the eyes of those in positions to make decisions for the community, for those researching new tests and vaccines, and cures. Give them the peace of mind to be clear-eyed as they do their work.

...who provides clothes for the naked. We all feel so incredibly vulnerable. As you clothed Adam and Eve as they left the garden, please give us the protection we need to stay healthy – physically and emotionally.

...who frees the captive. Free those carrying the burden of the community. Be present to them so that they do not feel alone in their decisions.

...who lifts up the fallen. Help us to recover, to stand straight again. Please send special blessings to the families and friends of those who have died or are suffering.

...who makes firm each person's steps. Give the leaders of our nation and all nations the resolve and the patience to deal with this crisis in the way that You would have them act.

...who girds our people Israel with strength. Let us come together as a community of support so that we are not isolated and alone. Let us find strength in You.

...who crowns Israel with glory. Let us still find the holiness in every day, in big and small ways.

...who gives strength to the weary. Give strength to those working in the medical clinics and hospitals and to helpers everywhere.

...who removes sleep from my eyes, slumber from my eyelids. Let me one day soon wake up to praise Your name first and not to think about tragedy and fear. Let all humanity arise from slumber and fight injustice wherever it may occur.

Let each of us understand what our role is in this effort to repair the world in partnership with You, so that one day You will be One and Your name will be One.

The Blessing for Counting the Omer: One stands when counting the omer, and begins by reciting the following blessing:

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the omer.

After the blessing, one recites the appropriate day of the count. For example:

Today is the first day of the omer.

Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781