Day 16 of the Omer
For Rosh Hodesh Iyar (Friday, April 21, 2023)
Traditionally the Omer period has been perceived as a time of mourning, interrupted only by few days of joy. Today is such a day – Rosh Hodesh Iyar, the beginning of the month of Iyar. With a bit luck one can see the tiny sickle of the moon tonight. The psalm of the day is Psalm 104 which offers some of the most beautiful nature lyrics of the Tanakh.
The Jewish months follow the moon cycle, the year takes the rotation around the sun into account, thus our time structure is governed by the course of celestial bodies. Also for women such a moon cycle is inscribed in their bodies, but in general we modern people live time as something detached from nature. Our own lives barely follow the rhythm of nature: with electrical light we cut the nights short, live mostly in towns, have fruits and vegetables at our disposal not regarding their seasons. But Psalm 104 places us among – not above – other creatures: animals and plants, mountains and valleys, showing us our humble place among creation.
Rabbi Dr Ulrike Offenberg Hameln, Germany