We are delighted to count you in!
You may be wondering what this journey is all about. As we prepare to begin our travels together, we want to share with you some background information now.
What is an Omer?
An Omer is a sheaf or measure of barley or wheat. The Omer is also the name for the 7 week period of time between Passover and Shavuot. In ancient times, the Omer period was significant agriculturally as it marked the period of time between planting and the spring and summer harvests. Over time, Jewish tradition connected the Omer period with various spiritual practices, including refinement of the soul.
The Omer period is 49 days. These 7 weeks mark the time between the holiday of Passover and the festival of Shavuot, when we celebrate receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. We count the days, beginning with the second night of Passover and continuing until Shavuot.
Why do we count?
Our counting reminds us that no two days are the same. We are encouraged to make each day count. In addition, our Counting of the Omer encourages us to see this seven week period as a pilgrimage. On Passover, we celebrate leaving Egypt, which represents a narrow place of constriction and limitation of choice. We journey out into the open space, which is liberating but also uncharted terrain, where we may encounter doubt, uncertainty and fear. As we learn to be in the unknown, we also internalize a vision of faith and discover ourselves feeling a new sense of belonging, more connected and at home. Symbolically, this moment of arrival is Sinai and Shavuot.
How does this work?
The Counting of the Omer begins on the second night of Passover. The tradition includes the offering of a blessing and an actual counting of what day of the Omer it is. Since the Jewish day begins at sundown, we count the Omer in the evening. We do this for 49 days.
Because the Omer period truly is a journey of the soul, we have designed a series of offerings to guide us on our pilgrimage, with awareness that not only is each day different but that there are stages that we will walk through and that each stage involves specific challenges, teachings and tools.
Each day we will send you an email with words of poetry, meditation, reflection, inspirational sacred text or song. Our hope and prayer is that these offerings will enrich your journey through the Omer and help nourish you during this season of cultivating our souls. And again, we journey through the wilderness together.
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Rabbi Cindy Enger and Rabbi Jill Zimmerman