Welcome to the fourth day of the journey.
We continue with this week’s kavannah (intention), which is
We want to acknowledge that each of us enters this journey in a different place. We find ourselves with various challenges and yearnings. The journey through the Omer will be unique for each of us. And yet we make our way together, not alone.
So far, we’ve talked about the call to Adam and Eve in the garden and about God calling to Moses from within the burning bush. Jewish tradition gives us a multiplicity of metaphors for how the Divine Presence reveals itself to us in this world. One way we humans encounter God is through the still, small voice within.
In the First Book of Kings in the Bible, the prophet Elijah, for whom many of us opened the door at our Passover seders, has left his home, in flight for his life. God calls to Elijah to come out of the cave where he is hiding and to stand on the mountain. God passes by. We read in the biblical text that there was a great and mighty wind, but God was not in the wind. After the wind, an earthquake; but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, fire; but God was not in the fire. And after the fire, a still, small voice — in Hebrew, a kol d’mamah dakah. (I Kings 19:11-12). More than the loud, dramatic events and sounds, it was the internal, soft, murmuring sound through which Elijah experienced God.
Experiencing the beauty and magnificence of the natural world can be a way to become attuned to our own still, small voice. We can quiet ourselves and listen. In such moments, we are home.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
from Dream Work, The Atlantic Monthly Press (May 1986)
Mindfulness practice: Spend some time outdoors in nature or some quiet time where you can best practice listening to the still, small voice within.
Blessing for Counting the Omer:
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu
al sefirat ha’omer.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Holy One of Blessing, who makes us holy with sacred obligations and commands us to count the Omer.
Counting: Today is the fourth day of the Omer : Hayom yom r’vi-ee la’omer.
Blessings to you on this new day. We are delighted to journey together.
Rabbi Cindy Enger and Rabbi Jill Zimmerman
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*For more information on what the “Omer” is and why we “journey” and how we “count”, click here