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Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Counting the Omer – Week 2

Week Two: G’vurah
Strength, Justice, Discipline, Judgment
April 4-10

Counting the Omer for Spiritual Development and Racial and Social Justice

The Omer is the 49-day period beginning the second day of Passover and ending the day before Shavuot. It is the countdown to receiving the Torah on Shavuot. We count the (49) days and (7) weeks of this period, from 1 to 49. The counting is done the night before each day, beginning this year on March 28, 2021 and ending on May 16, 2021. For more information about Counting the Omer click HERE. To begin counting, scroll down.

Prayer before counting:  Daily siddur, p. 415  on the bottom

Counting the days for Week Two: Daily Siddur, p. 416 in English, 417 in Hebrew

Prayer before counting the Omer each day:  Baruch atah adonay, eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav, vetzivanu al sefirat ha-Omer.  Blessed are you, Eternal our God, the sovereign of all worlds, who has made us holy with your mitzvot, and has commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.

Then, recite the specific day of the Omer:  Today is [the eighth day, which is one week and one day; the ninth day, which is one week and two days; the tenth day, which is one week and three days; the eleventh day, which is one week and four days; the twelfth day, which is one week and five days; the thirteenth day, which is one week and six days; the fourteenth day, which is two weeks] of the Omer.  

Hayom [shemoneh yamim, shehem shavua echad v’yom echad; tisha yamim, shehem shavua echad u’shney yamim ; asara yamim, shehem shavua echad u’shlosha yamim; achad asar yom, shehem shavua echad v’arba-a yamim; shneym asar yom, shehem shavua echad v’chamishah yamim; shlosha asar yom, shehem shavua echad v’shisha yamim ; arba-a asar yom, shehem shney shavuot] la-Omer.

 

Day Eight: Sunday, April 4
Chesed she’b’G’vurah
Lovingkindness in Strength

From the Book of Micah: “Do justice, love lovingkindness, and walk humbly with your God.

“Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are, and seeks happiness in the same way we do. Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let’s take care of others wholeheartedly, of both our friends and our enemies. This is the basis for true compassion.”  –Dalai Lama

Exercise for the day:  Be aware when offering criticism, or feeling judgment arise in yourself, to take a moment to check if your criticism is coming from a place of love and reflect on how to express that concern with love so that it can be received.

 

Day Nine: Monday, April 5
G’vurah she’b’G’vurah
Strength in Strength

How do we set boundaries that are an expression of inner strength and discernment instead of severity and harshness? The question is, are these boundaries an expression of severity and harshness or are these boundaries an expression of inner strength and discernment?

During the pandemic we’re all being asked to maintain a very specific boundary of at least 6 feet from other people in public.  Most of us are doing the best we can to abide by this rule.  Others see this as an infringement of their rights. How do we find the strength to live within this boundary?

Exercise for the day:  Make a detailed plan for addressing inequality and what you can do, and set out 1 small goal.

 

Day Ten: Tuesday, April 6
Tiferet she’b’G’vurah
Beauty and Compassion in Strength

“Remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity. Know that every deed counts, that every word is power…Above all, remember that you must build your life as if it were a work of art.”  -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs. 

-African proverb

Exercise for the day:  Take the time to listen to another point of view with an open heart.

 

Day Eleven: Wednesday, April 7
Netzach she’b’G’vurah
Endurance and Perseverance in Strength

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl; but whatever you do. you have to keep moving forward.”  

-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Two possible exercises for the day, choose one or bothBe inspired by Maya Angelou https://youtu.be/ETzizTeoP0M.  Or, read about ongoing Jewish involvement in the struggle for voting rights:  https://jcrcstl.org/what-we-do/official-positions.html/title/march-2020-voting-rights-

 

Day Twelve: Thursday, April 8
Hod she’b’G’vurah
Sincerity and Splendor in Strength

“No human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?” 
-Ellie Wiesel

“Life is a hard battle anyway. If we laugh and sing a little as we fight the good fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier. I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.”
Sojourner Truth

Two possible exercises for the day, choose one or both:  Reflect on the saying   “Joy is the resistance.”  Or, listen to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TbDPwA09Bc

Day Thirteen: Friday, April 9
Yesod she’b’G’vurah
Building a Foundation in Strength

When a man starts out to build a world / He starts first with himself.
-Langston Hughes

Boundaries provide an important foundation. We talk glowingly about people who color outside the lines, but we rarely discuss the importance of those lines. Ornette Coleman’s free jazz, which can feel cacophonous, came from a place of deep knowledge and years of training. In order to successfully break the rules, we need to know very deeply the rules that we are breaking. The art can’t have the same impact without the knowledge that it is transgressive and revolutionary. We need to be able to see the supporting structure so that we can appreciate the freedom to riff.

-Jake Best Adler  (ritualwell.org)

Two possible exercises for the day, choose one or both:  Explore your own foundation, asking what is and isn’t true in your life/  And/or, listen to a conversation between Isabel Wilkerson and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl: https://youtu.be/sFU8UCR59xw

 

Day Fourteen (Rounding out Week 2): Saturday, April 10
Malchut she’b’G’vurah
Majesty and Humility in Strength

Two quotations from the great civil rights leader, the late Rep. John Lewis:

“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up.  You have to say something.  You have to do something.”

“We need someone who is going to stand up, speak up, and speak out for the people who need help, for the people who have been discriminated against.”

Two possible exercises for the day, choose one or both:  Try something out of your comfort zone, And/or, as Rep. John Lewis urged:   Get in good trouble

 

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