(Journey of the Soul: Making the Omer Count is a project of Rabbi Cindy Enger and Rabbi Jill Zimmerman.
As Pesach moves to its close, so does the first week of the Omer. Beginnings and endings are powerful times. On this day, we arrive at the ending of this first part of our pilgrimage together and prepare to cross over into the next stage of our journey.
At this moment of transition, as we rest in the shelter of Shabbat, we share a blessing from Rabbi Sheryl Lewart (z’’l), inspired by the biblical verse, “When you cross the Jordan you will find a place of refuge.” (Numbers 35:10-11)
May you be blessed on your journey,
Finding comfort and refuge as you travel.
As you step into the strange
And become a stranger,
May each traveler, wanderer, and seeker you meet
Offer wisdom and empathy.
As you step into the unknown journey of your life,
May you be protected from all harm.
May you learn and grow from encounters
With gentle teachers and sympathetic guides.
May you hold onto the awareness that
You have the courage to walk away from difficult situations.
You will move towards compassion and clarity,
Awareness, and appreciation.
You will find answers and more questions.
May you find what you seek.
Rabbi Sheryl Lewart, Blessings for Life’s Journey: Transformative
Meditations and Readings, (pages 30-31) *
Spiritual practice: This week has been about Waking Up. Spend some time in silent reflection or journaling what this week has kindled in you. Notice the feelings that arise and just breathe into whatever shows up: excitement, fear, anticipation, sadness, hope, joy…. Pay attention to whatever arises, and then gently return to your breath. Within each moment, we can always return to the constancy of our breath.
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 seventh day, totaling one week of the Omer:
Hayom shiva yamim, she-haim shavua ekhad la-omer.
Blessings to you on this new day. We are delighted to journey together.
Rabbi Cindy Enger & Rabbi Jill Zimmerman
* We feel very honored to share Rabbi Lewart’s blessing with you. Her beautiful book of blessings was published posthumously. She had completed the final draft of this book, a compilation of her life’s work, in the last weeks of her life. Rabbi Sheryl Lewart passed away on November 30, 2012 three years after a recurrence of breast cancer.
Rabbi Lewart served as rabbi of Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, California, the largest Reconstructionist congregation in the world. She was a spiritual teacher who lectured and led workshops and seminars in Mystical Judaism.