Welcome to the forty-ninth day of the journey. We continue with this week’s kavannah (intention), which is
Today is the day towards which we have been counting. For seven weeks — 49 days — we have traveled together. The memory of leaving Egypt is distant, our clothes are dusty, and our feet are worn out.
We now gather at the mountain. Our journeys will continue beyond today, but this counting comes to a close. Tomorrow is Shavuot.
As we ready ourselves to receive Torah, we want to share a profound teaching by Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, the Sefat Emet:
Every person has his or her own piece of Torah. The complete Torah was given to the Jewish people as a whole. However, each person has a personal teaching, his or her own Torah, inside them. This is hidden within the soul. There is a piece of Torah that can be learned from every person.**
Each of our individual teachings is precious, unique, never taught before nor to be taught in the same way again. Our collection of teachings and truths, gathered throughout our lifetime, is our personal Torah.
However, our individual teaching is not the only Torah that we carry. Something extraordinary happens at Mount Sinai to transform us from individuals into something more.
Torah is our collective truth as a people. Torah is the transmission of our shared experience. Torah is what we know to be true.
At Mount Sinai, the glorious merging of the individual and the collective occurs. In that moment, we are ONE. Our challenge is to hold in one hand the understanding that each of us has a unique and special contribution that only we can fulfill — and at the same time to hold in the other hand the awareness that we share a common story bigger than who we are alone. There is something flowing through us, holding us together, that is more than a group of individuals on our own.
Revelation, like creation, happens in the present moment.
Our prayer is that some part of your personal teaching, your very own Torah hidden deep inside of you, has been revealed during these last 49 days.
Tonight, we welcome Shabbat together, with deep gratitude for each other, our journey companions all over the world and our tradition that
offers this kind of soul development.
With full hearts and much love, we thank you for traveling with us
on this Journey of the Soul.
The question to each one of us on this forty-ninth day of the Omer is: What part of your personal Torah was once hidden and now revealed to you? If you are willing, we’d love for you to share a few sentences with us now.
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 forty-ninth day, totaling seven weeks of the Omer: Hayom tishah v’arba-im yom, she-haim shiva shavuot la-omer.
Blessings to you on this new day. We are delighted to journey together.
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman and Rabbi Cindy Enger
** *The Sefat Emet refers to the collected writings of Judah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847-1905), Polish Jewish leader and head of Hasidim of Gur.
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*For more information on what the “Omer” is and why we “journey” and how we “count”, click here