Day 10 of the Omer
The daily Omer of barley between Pesach and Shavuot was just one specific offering among the many sacrifices of animals, grains, fruits, vegetables, oil, and spices. It was the way of our ancestors to express their longing for closeness and a relationship to God. This way of connecting to God seems strange for us today, but not the idea of a sacrifice. We, too, know that sometimes a sacrifice is necessary to stay in a relationship. To be close to someone else one has to give something up: autonomy, freedom, habits, convenience, money or belongings. The text “זכר למוסף” by Chanokh Jacobsen ask about the nature of our sacrifices today. Closeness and relations demand dedication, love, and time. Counting the Omer reminds us that offering time to somebody or something can be a worthy sacrifice.
We have desired the nearness of God – how shall we come near?
We seek to do God’s will – how shall we fulfill it?
For God hides, the heights of the universe are God’s habitation,
Every living thing is in God’s hand and God’s works are beyond our understanding.
God has commanded us only to keep the covenant through all generations:
‘Behold, to listen is better than a sacrifice, to truly hear is better than the fat of rams’.
If your fellow becomes poor – you shall maintain them.
The foreigner who dwells with you – you shall love them.
The worker who is in your house – pay them promptly.
Drink water from your own cistern and leave to the community its own.
Fulfill that which you commit to and honor your vows to the Most high.
God has given you years of life: from those hours offer your sacrifice.
(From: Tefilat Ha-Adam. An Israeli Reform Siddur for Shabbat, 2022, p. 268.)
Rabbi Dr Ulrike Offenberg. Hameln, Germany