The Counting of the Omer & the Human Project

Week 5

Today marks the fifth week of the Omer, and this week we focus on the notion of purpose. In upcoming weeks, expect our rabbis’ reflections on other aspects of the Human Project: Community and Hope.

Our intention is that these weekly emails will foster an introspective period for our community, enhancing the Omer’s relevance, and leading us towards a deeper understanding of the Human Project — an essential component of Temple Micah's Roadmap.

Today's Reflection: Purpose

In Man's Search for Meaning, Victor E. Frankl writes, “I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, ‘homeostasis,’ i.e. a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

Amidst the tumult and challenges of existence, Frankl’s words ask us to consider our purpose in life, our telos. Toward what ultimate end does the trajectory of our existence approach? 

One enduring response comes from Leviticus 19: “You shall be holy, for I, the Eternal your God, am holy.” This injunction encapsulates a profound calling embedded within the fabric of Jewish tradition—to emulate the sanctity of the Divine in our daily endeavors. It is a charge to transcend the mundane, with a sacred purpose. 

The Human Project is in perpetual motion, forever advancing toward the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they know war anymore.”

Question for Reflection

What is the ultimate purpose shaping your life's course?

About the Counting of the Omer

The Omer is a period of counting that spans the 49 days (7 weeks) between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. The name – Omer – refers to an ancient measure of grain which was brought as an offering to the Temple in Jerusalem on the second day of Passover.

After the destruction of the Temple, the counting of the Omer was reinterpreted as time of introspection leading up to the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah. While there are different ways to approach introspection, this year we are choosing to reflect on the Human Project, an essential component of Temple Micah's Roadmap.

Exploring Temple Micah's Roadmap: the Human Project

For this year’s counting, Temple Micah's rabbis will send out a special, weekly email highlighting a different aspect of the the Human Project for us to ponder throughout the week.

In the simplest of explanations, the Human Project is a set of ideas that focus on our shared humanity and what it means to be a good person. It asks us to look inwards at ourselves, acknowledging our own dignity, and to spread this awareness outwards to our communities and the world. We look forward to sharing our reflections with you.


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