top of page

Day Twenty Three of the Omer

עבדי הזמן עבדי עבדים הם. עבד ה׳ הוא לבד חופשי.

Slaves of time are slaves of slaves.

Only the servant of God is free.

(Yehuda Halevi)

Most of us are free citizens, live in the so-called “Free World”, and yet, time pressures and constraints rule our days. Like being under a yoke it is hard to look up, to stretch shoulders and back, to take a look around. Yehuda Halevi warns us that an attitude that assumes there are no alternatives to a life ruled by “dead-lines” leads to enslavement. And being a slave of slaves is the ultimate image of being ruled by others, not free, bondage. Only subordination under God’s word, to be guided by Torah, leads to freedom. Dependencies from other constraints would lose their weight, says Halevi.

Every evening after counting the Omer I recite the saying of Yehuda Halevi. Yet I wonder every time how utopian this idea is. Family, friends, work, volunteering, even recreation come with constraints of time – sometimes I am better in juggling all these aspects of me being myself than in other times. Where does sovereignty end, where does bondage start? And what does being a servant of God mean?

Rabbi Dr Ulrike Offenberg. Hameln, Germany


bottom of page