We are counting down the days to Passover, to our journey out of slavery and into freedom. And then, on the second night of Passover, we will begin counting in a serious way, we will begin counting the Omer.
With the Counting of the Omer count seven weeks of seven days – 49 days – from crossing into freedom to receiving the Torah, from redemption to revelation, from Passover to Shavuot, from the Sea of Reeds to the Mountain of Sinai, from the depths of despair to the heights of joy, from physical enslavement to spiritual freedom, from the barley harvest offering to the wheat harvest offering, from the food of animals offering to the food of humans offering. We count 49 days.
In Jewish mystical tradition, each of these seven weeks is equated to one of seven Divine Attributes. During each week, we also travel through these seven attributes day by day. In this way, each day represents a combination of two attributes, and throughout the 49 days we experience every possible combination of the attributes, 49 different combinations, so very many ways of considering the sacred, and our connection to it.
This year, seven of the writers of Ma'yan Tikvah's Earth Etudes for Elul have each agreed to write seven Omer reflections for Ma'yan Tikvah. We are grateful for the immense thought and effort that each of these writers has put into their work. As always, they have woven some aspect of the natural world into their writings. And also, as always, you will see great variety from week to week – we begin with hard-hitting science, and then the week after switch to poetry. You will read political views, thoughts on personal growth, ideas on how to get closer to the Earth and closer to G!d, as each of the writers expresses her or his innermost feelings and pulls you into her or his personal world. I invite you to journey with us, and to see where our writers' reflections will lead us.
The first week of Omer reflections begin on Tuesday evening, April 15. They have been written by Rabbi Judy Weiss, and in addition to the Divine Attribute of Chesed, which is the focus of the week, she also focuses on the oceans and climate change. Rabbi Judy Weiss lives in Brookline, MA, with her husband Alan. She teaches Tanakh, and volunteers with Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Passover is almost here. We are counting the days.
I wish you a joyous sense of leaving behind all that binds you and an entrance into an expansive sense of freedom.
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, Ma'yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope