Counting the Omer: Turning Around

4310495369_9d6d48aec2_oOn this 3rd day of the Omer, in our week of hesed (loving kindness) focus, consider the true meaning of the word hesed.  It’s connected to love; yet hesed is less about feeling and more about action.

Alan Morinis tells the following story: “I once heard Rabbi Abraham Yachnes clarify the extent of the stretch that is necessary to have an action qualify as hesed. He said that if you are walking down the street and someone is walking beside you carrying a large box, and you offer to help the person carry the box, that’s nothesed. You’d simply be a terrible person not to help someone in that situation. What counts as hesed is when you are walking the opposite way from someone carrying a burden and you turn around to help carry that load in the direction he or she is going. That’s hesed.”

When was the last time you turned around?

In our own midst, we have many congregants who turn around to help carry the load, bringing more hesed into the world.  One of them was just named one of Philadelphia Magazine’s 75 Most Influential Philadelphians! She is Yael Lehmann, executive director of The Food Trust, whose work has helped so many more Philadelphians have access to healthy food.  RS is proud to partner with The Food Trust as we develop our Snap-welcoming Farmer’s Market, opening this summer!  Get involved in this or in another form of community hesed!

Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al s’firat ha’omer.  Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with sacred actions and enjoins us to count the omer.

Hayom sh’losha yamim la’omer.  Today is the 3rd day of the omer.

Have a sweet Pesach!  Rabbis Kuhn, Maderer, Freedman and Cantor Frankel