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Counting the Omer, Week 6

05/14/2020 11:08:44 AM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 6, Days 36-42: May 13 – May 19
Theme: Hope and Prayer

All prayers can be distilled down to four basic ones. They are: Please, Thank You, Oops, and Wow. In the course of a day, think about how many opportunities you have to offer one of these prayers. Prayer is a plea for God to hear the heart’s yearning. Our prayer lives spring from the natural human instinct to hope-to hope that something outside of our control has the best outcome for ourselves, our loved ones, the world. “I hope that Aunt Sylvia recovers from her illness,” “I hope those traveling abroad come home safely,” I hope that my parents are protected when they work at the hospital.” Offering a prayer is taking that hope that you feel like a pang in your heart and sending it Godward. Prayer and hope are important for the soul. They carry us into the next day when we’re feeling uninspired, they lift us when the world is heavy on our shoulders.

There is also a sense of hope in offering the familiar prayers of the prayerbook. To fall into the rhythms and melodies we’ve internalized can be so comforting. Knowing that these prayers and chants have survived thousands of years gives us hope that we, too, can survive hardships that might befall us.

In the evening, we offer a prayer called, Hashkiveinu. It is a prayer asking for God’s protection. Just as a child hopes to be safe in a big world they yet to understand, this prayer hopes for that same sense of safety for us all. Here is the translation from Mishkan Tefilah, CCAR Press.

Grant, O God, that we lie down in peace, and raise us up, our Guardian, to life renewed. Spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Guide us with Your good counsel; for Your Name’s sake, be our help. Shield and shelter us beneath the shadow of Your wings. Defend us against enemies, illness, war, famine and sorrow. Distance us from wrongdoing. For You, God, watch over us and deliver us. For You, God, are gracious and merciful. Guard our going and coming, to life and to peace evermore.

One of my favorite versions is the one we sing often by singer/songwriter, Dan Nichols.

We find ourselves in dark times that can certainly be mitigated by the hope embedded in our prayers. May we always be able to share our hopes freely with the One who hears our prayers, and may they be answered and grant us peace speedily in our day.

The Blessing: 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 and after 6 days, the week is also included in the count. For example: “Today is the thirty-sixth day, or five weeks and one day of the omer.”

Mon, August 3 2020 13 Av 5780