Meditation for OmerFrom the second day of Passover until Shavuot, Jews count seven weeks – seven times seven days – to commemorate the period between the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation at Sinai. When the Temple stood, a certain measure (omer) of barley was offered on the altar each day; today, we merely count out the days. Day 7: Find merits and lovingkindness in all others.
Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al sefirat ha’omer
Blessed are you, ETERNAL, our God, the sovereign of all worlds, who has made us holy with your mitzvotLit. Commandment. It is traditionally held that there are 613 mitzvot (plural) in Judaism, both postive commandments (mandating actions) and negative commandments (prohibiting actions). Mitzvah has also become colloquially assumed to mean the idea of a “good deed.", and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.
Hayom shiv’ah yamim la’omer. Malkhut she’be’HesedLit. Kindness It is said in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) that the world stands on three things: Torah (learning), Avodah (worship), and Gemilut Hasidim (acts of kindness).
Today is the seventh day of the Omer: Nobility of Spirit within Lovingkindness.
“One always finds merits in oneself; so one should find merits and loving-kindness in all of IsraelLit. ''the one who struggles with God.'' Israel means many things. It is first used with reference to Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel (Genesis 32:29), the one who struggles with God. Jacob's children, the Jewish people, become B'nai Israel, the children of Israel. The name also refers to the land of Israel and the State of Israel.. Their common denominator is that they are all righteous, all pure and all worthy of all of the blessings.”
(Baal Shem Tov, Parashat Kedoshim 2, quoted in Rav Binyamin Zimmerman, Bein AdamAdam is the first human being created by God. Symbolizes: Creation, humankind. Le’Chavero, ShiurA lesson, usually about Talmud. 5: http://vbm-torah.org/archive/chavero2/05chavero.htm)
Look deeply into yourself, beneath all criticism and shame, and take time to fully appreciate the person you really are: your goodness, your capacities, your inborn Divine attributes and unique qualities. Then turn your attention to the people who inhabit your community and your daily routine, delighting in their essential goodness and decency.
From a cycle of Sefirat Ha’Omer meditations on sh’mirat ha’lashon (guarding your tongue) created in 2014 at Congregation Kehillat Israel, Lansing, MI. Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).