Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community
In the Time of Counting the Omer
by Susan Freiband
During this time of counting the omer, we have an opportunity to live more fully with greater intention and reflection, committing ourselves to a more meaningful and purposeful life. The spiritual dimension of the time between Pesach and Shavuot can become a guide and pathway toward gaining greater insight, awareness, and transformation.
Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar in her book, OMER, A COUNTING (N.Y., CCAR Press, 2014) offers a set of seven spiritual principles for the seven weeks of the Omer. These principles serve to illumine the path toward spiritual awareness. They include, for week one, decide; week two, discern; week three, choose; week four, hope; week five, imagine; week six, courage; week seven, pray. Each of these themes is connected to a classical or contemporary Jewish text. Making sense of the connection between the texts and the thoughts presented is part of the personal journey through this unique cycle of Jewish time.
These principles are also an important part of the aging journey, the path toward becoming elders, toward harvesting life experience, leaving a legacy. They reflect and reinforce seven qualities and values of active elders (as identified by Sage-ing International): respect (valuing and caring for people, affirming their worth), integrity (being genuine, honest, trustworthy, truthful), deep listening (being present without judgment), inclusiveness (accepting diversity, different ethnicities, lifestyles and backgrounds), joyfulness (seeing humor in life, laughter, play), compassion (caring, understanding, reciprocity, forgiveness), reverence for life and learning (respect and care for all living things, curiosity, creativity, innovation).
The time of counting the omer can serve as an impetus toward positive aging, toward becoming a wise elder.