Today is day three of the Omer. [For more on counting the Omer, scroll down to the bottom of this post.]
We are walking toward Sinai and, eyes open, begin to notice the wonders which surround us. For the ancient Israelites, these wonders included the vast openness of the wilderness, the sand beneath their feet, and the countless stars overhead. When living as slaves, they rarely had time to look up to take note of God’s creations. Now, walking forward to freedom, they – like you and me today – can witness and embrace the grandeur of Creation.
Today is also Earth Day, our annual celebration of the plane we call “home”. We live on it; we love it. We use it; we abuse it. We assume that the Earth’s resources are endless and that our needs take precedence over everything else. After all, we argue, didn’t God tell us in Genesis 2 that we shall have dominion over all the Earth?
Then we sit idly by as species become extinct, as whole forests disappear, and the deserts begin to encroach upon the land. We watch the glaciers melt; the air turn grey; and the world heat up. As we crack open the earth to feed our oil addiction, and then we sit back impotent as the oil runs amuck polluting the earth, we might recall that our responsibility from Genesis chapter 2 included caring for and protecting the earth.
Eyes open, we begin to see – really see – the wonder around us. Like Adam on the first full day after creation, we sing Psalms of praise for God’s Chesed (kindness) in allowing us to enjoy the Tiferet (beauty) of our planet.
We become appreciative of all we have around us – trees and flowers, clean air vast open spaces, hands to bold and be held by… We are simultaneously at one with and responsible for this creation. And we realize HaMakom (the Place) is God’s Place. We understand that God is in Creation, that God IS creation. [I discovered this on a road trip through 22 states in 31 days, including visiting many National Parks. Read about my experience with HaMakom.]
Today is the 3rd day on our journey. May we witness the holiness of the earth, and may it open our eyes to the holiness of the Holy One!
Counting the Omer:
As we learn in the Torah, You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for the Eternal, your God. (Deuteronomy 16:9-10). Use this Simpsons-inspired Homer Omer Counting Calendar.
We bless: Baruch Atah Adonay Eloheynu melech ha’olam asher kid’shanu 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 commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.