The Counting of the Omer & the Human Project

Week 6

Today marks the sixth week of the Omer, and this week we focus on the notion of community, good deeds, and loving kindness. Next week, we'll reflect on 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: Community and Good Deeds

What does Judaism demand of us? Deuteronomy 13:5 tells us it is nothing less than to “walk after God.” Rabbi Hama of the Talmud suggests this is a physical impossibility, rather, it means “to follow the character traits of God.” 


The traits R’Hama elevates are those of communal responsibilityhe teaches that just as God provided clothing Adam and Eve in the Genesis narrative, so, too, are we required to clothe the naked. And just as God visited an ill Abraham, so, too, must we visit the sick. And just as God comforted Isaac after Abraham’s death, so, too, are we mandated to comfort mourners. Lastly, just as God buried Moses at the conclusion of the Torah, we must honor and care for the deceased. 


Another Rabbi, R’Simlai, seeing this list adds one final note: T​he Torah begins with loving kindness and ends with loving kindness. It begins with loving kindness (when God offered dignity and care in providing clothes Adam and Eve) and it ends with loving kindness (when God buried Moses).

 

How is it that we are meant to walk after God? By bookending our days and lives with acts of chesed, of loving kindness. This is the part of the Human Project that is not at all complex. When we see that care and kindness is required, we must offer it. This is what community can bea place where we support each other through our most human experiences, vulnerability, sickness, and mourningwith deep compassion.


We are responsible for each other. 

Question for Reflection

How can you bookend your days with acts of chesed?

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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