Counting the Omer: Courage Over Fear

crossing_of_red_sea___pastels_by_pawlis-d4b3hspWe all feel fear.  The question is, do we act on it?  When, in their escape from slavery, the Israelites are stuck between the Sea of Reeds before them and the Egyptian chariots behind them, what’s Moses’ message?  Don’t be afraid. Rabbi Alan Lew, of blessed memory, notes that perhaps the Israelites didn’t really need to be afraid: The Pharaoh sent 600 chariots, while the Israelites numbered more than a million.  Why would such an enormous group be afraid of an army of so few?  His answer is that they are not responding to what was really there, nor even to what they saw.  Rather they were responding to a phantom.  They were responding to a fear-inducing product of their own imagination.  So when Moses says “Don’t be afraid” he means “don’t panic” or “move forward” or “Don’t spend your life anxious about the things that seem scary or the demons you imagine.”  For this day of counting the omer in the week of focus on givurah, strength, may we have the courage to overcome fear.

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 shilshah asar yom, shehem shavuah echad v’shishah yamim, la-omer.  Today is 13 days which is one week and 6 days of the Omer.

Wishing you a meaningful omer– Your RS Clergy