Today is DAY TWENTY-FIVE, which makes THREE WEEKS and FOUR DAYS of the Omer.
And so we enter into May with two of the most beautiful days of the year. I hope you had the opportunity to spend some time outdoors this weekend. "The heavens declare the greatness of God; the expanse of sky tells the work of God's hands" (Psalm 19:2).
On Friday we had a wonderful live Shabbat service. If you weren't able to join us and would still like to watch, a link can be found at the bottom of this email. We've really enjoyed having more people participate in our Shabbat Zoom and video activities, and so we're calling for volunteers. If you are willing to lead a prayer or a reading—Hebrew or English, live or prerecorded—for the congregation on Shabbat (not necessarily this week), please take a moment to fill out this quick form. We look forward to sharing your faces and voices!
May it be a healthy and safe week for all of you and your loved ones.
Torah for Today Rabbi Noah
From "Counting On the Covenant" by Deborah Eisenbach-Budner Every year, halfway through Sefirat HaOmer, I vow to count the Omer next year. It is already half over, so why start now? It seems unkosher. There is no principle in this matter, just a feeling that if I can’t count the whole thing it isn’t good enough. Yet, when I find myself halfway through a meal having not said a brakhah, I always stop to say one. I figure that awareness of gratitude halfway through my meal is better than awareness of gratitude for none of my meal....
Today marks the halfway point in our counting of the Omer (25 days out of 50). We are precisely halfway through our journey from Passover to Shavuot. In the lines above, the poet identifies today as the time she things to commit to counting the Omer next year. After all, this year's count is already mostly over.
But as you can see, she pulls back from that reasoning in the case of making a blessing over a meal. Even if it would be better to say the blessing before eating, showing gratitude for some part of the meal is better than none at all.
I find myself teaching a version of this lesson again and again: When it comes to Jewish life, it's never "too late" to begin. It's never all or nothing; we're always encouraged to participate however we can, even if it's not the most "complete" way.
And there's a lesson here for our quarantine experience as well. Perhaps you had an idea for how you wanted to spend this time that hasn't fully come to pass. The "family schedule" never quite came together, or the gardening you wanted to do just hasn't happened. Of course, I hope you'll be kind and patient with yourself. But also...it's not too late. It's not all or nothing. Even at this halfway point in the Omer, we can set off on new paths and still go quite far.
Just as each day of the Omer is an opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of counting, so each day we have the opportunity to make new decisions that bring new blessings into our lives.
Coming This Week
*NEW* Music and Meditation with Cantor Sarah
Tuesday, 5/5, 8:30pm
Live on the Kol Dorot Facebook Page
Join Cantor Sarah for a few moments of healing music and meditation to help you breathe your way into the rest of the week. After a long day, take a few moments to listen to prayerful music and release some of the stress and anxiety of the day.
Ethics Study Group with Rabbi Noah
Every Wednesday, 12:00-1:00pm
See your daily email for details
In Case You Missed It
1) Kol Dorot Shabbat Evening Service, Friday 5/1
2) Havdallah with Morah Anat and Family, Saturday 5/2