Ahava … love. As we think of the lesson this week provides in observing the counting of the Omer, love is the prevailing theme.
The love between a couple, love that creates a family, love that makes a foundation for teaching about and practicing tikkun olam …
One beautiful reminder for a couple to keep that love in mind is Jackie’s Ahava ketubah. Check out the beautiful design here.
Meanwhile, wise words from Hazon help us all go through this 49-day period of the Omer more thoughtfully and meaningfully. Hazon is an organization dedicated to helping Jews live more sustainably, more thoughtfully, connecting our spiritual lives to our every-day activities and decisions.
Sefirat Ha’Omer – the counting of the Omer – is rooted in the Biblical mitzvah of counting the 49 days between the Jewish holidays of Pesach and Shavuot, when the first sacrifices of the barley and wheat offerings were made. The kabbalists of Sefad added their own psycho-spiritual overlay to it. Now, in 2018, we have the chance to take this ancient tradition and breathe powerful life into it.
Counting the Omer is the journey from “freedom from” to “freedom to.” This has never been more salient than in the West in 2018. We have – many of us – the blessings of “freedom from.” From totalitarianism or starvation or civil war. But the question of “freedom to” – freedom to what end; how do we use our freedoms; how do we not hurt ourselves from the cumulative impact of our freedoms … these are the big questions of our era.
So Saturday night – second night seder, for those of you who are sedering outside of Israel – was the start of this seven-week period. Let’s make it count.
These suggestions are rooted in all of Hazon’s work.
Omer Week 1 (April 1-7) Chesed – kindness and the absence of boundaries.
What does it mean to show kindness to the earth and all its inhabitants? The first week of the omer is Pesach. It’s a time of celebration. We count with love, not with heaviness.
Pesach is chag ha’aviv, the festival of spring. With a bit of luck the sun will shine. Go for a walk. Go to your local park. Use this moment of spring to reconnect with a place that you love, and be inspired – “hiddur mitzvah” – to start to beautify our world…