(Journey of the Soul: Making the Omer Count is a project of Rabbi Jill Zimmerman and Rabbi Cindy Enger. To subscribe and receive each Omer day in your email, please click here.)
Welcome to the third day of the journey.
We continue with this week’s kavannah (intention), which is
On day one, we wrote of God’s call of Ayeka (Where are you?) to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:9) In response to this question of existential condition, the Torah tells us that Adam and Eve hid. On day two, we shared the story of Moses at the burning bush. He, too, hears a call. (Exodus 3:3-4).
Moses’ response is altogether different: he turns; he stops. He says, Hineni. Here I am: I am ready. Moses’ response to the call was immediate: I am awake.
As Adin Steinsaltz points out, the voice from the garden, from God, from our highest selves, is calling to us at all times. And at every moment, we have two choices: we can hide, or we can say Hineni. Here I am.
To respond with “Hineni” often is not easy. Especially when the task we are called to show up for is challenging. For Moses, God has called him to go back into Egypt, confront Pharaoh and free the Hebrews from slavery!
Part of the difficulty of responding Hineni may come from within us. Fear or sense of inadequacy can get in our way. Even Moses, our greatest teacher, resists and pleads with God to find another person more worthy or capable than he. Please, God, Moses begs, please find another person. Moses asks, “Who am I to do this? Mi Anochi?”
Moses is overcome with his feelings of inadequacy. For us also, responding to the call to awaken may trigger within us a sense that we need to become someone other than who we know ourselves to be in order to become the self we are called to be.
But what if we are exactly who and where we need to be? Marianne Williamson says it best in her book, A Return to Love:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The questions to each one of us on this third day of the Omer are:
What part of your soul or what aspects of your life long to respond Hineni (Here I am; I am ready)? In what ways are you responding Mi Anochi (Who am I)? Does fear or a sense of inadequacy get in your way?
Spend some time in silence imagining the self you long to be: “brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous…” (add your own words) What does that feel like? Breathe in that possibility.
Blessing for Counting the Omer:
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu
al sefirat ha’omer.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Holy One of Blessing, who makes us holy with sacred obligations and commands us to count the Omer.
Counting: Today is the third day of the Omer : Hayom yom shlishi la’omer.
Blessings to you on this new day. We are delighted to journey together.
Rabbi Cindy Enger and Rabbi Jill Zimmerman
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*For more information on what the “Omer” is and why we “journey” and how we “count”, click here