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The commandment for counting the Omer is from the Torah, written in Vayikra 23:15 & 16:

You shall count from the day after Shabbat, from the day that you bring the waving omer, seven full weeks, even to the next day after the seven-week - you shall count 50 days, and then you will present a new Mincha (thanksgiving offering) unto your God.
Each night, when the sun sets, say the Bracha and then count the appropriate day of the Omer (below). 

(Click to enlarge image)
Be Strong

Even at our most creative and carefree, limits are important. The same energy that creates limitations can also lead to inflexibility, even oppression, and evil. What becomes important is our ability to discern between the kind of judgment that is necessary to live our lives safely and freely, and the kind of judgment that can lead to judgmentalism, fanaticism, and hunger for power.

Click on the calendar icons below to add the daily prayer prompts to your personal calendar.

Saturday, April 27

Day 8 - April 27 - How does my ambition manifest positively and productively, and when does it descend into competitiveness and a desire to win? Here are two texts that explore this:

Rabbi Eliezer HaKappar said, ‘Envy, desire, and ambition drive a person from the world’” (Pirkei Avot 4:21).

Cesar Chavez, the great labor leader, taught, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. ... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

Sunday, April 28

Day 9 - April 28 - What do you think Rabbi Akiva meant by this? How does this teaching embody Gevurah?

Rabbi Akiva said: "A protective fence for wisdom is silence." Pirkei Avot 3:17

Monday, April 29

Day 10 - April 29 - Gevurah is defined in our daily prayer as the “strength to revitalize.”  What parts of your being are in need of strength and revitalization?

The second blessing of each Amidah is called the Gevurot, where we say, “Who is like You, Almighty, and who can be compared to You, the sovereign who brings death and life, and causes redemption to flourish? You are faithful in bringing life to the dead.” In this prayer, said three times daily, we praise God as the ultimate life-giving force. Siddur Lev Shalem draws a connection between this prayer and the prayer of our ancient mother Hannah, who, in praying for a child, says, “God causes death and life, brings down and raises up….This can be a mode of prayer for the healing of revitalization of any aspect of ourselves that has become lifeless.   

Tuesday, April 30

Day 11 - April 30 - Yom HaShoah, fittingly, is commemorated tonight and tomorrow, in the month of Gevurah. When the quality of Gevurah (judgment) is allowed to trample completely over Chesed (love), the result can be disastrous - even life-threatening. Judgment can be twisted into hatred, power can be abused, and limits can be imposed to the point of oppression.

Hillel taught, “Do not withdraw from the community. Do not be sure of yourself until the day of your death. Do not judge your fellow human being until you stand in her situation. Do not say ‘It is impossible to understand this’ for ultimately it will be understood.” - Pirkei Avot 2:5

 

Wednesday, May 1

Day 12 - May 1 - When is enough, enough? What is our capacity to stretch, grow, learn, empathize and move beyond our comfort zone, and when is it acceptable to draw boundaries?

The Talmud teaches, at the beginning of creation story, that God had to introduce limits to the sky (hello, ever-expanding universe!), and we can then understand and learn that sometimes limits are necessary and productive. “When God said, 'Let there be a firmament,' the world kept stretching and expanding, until God said, 'Enough!' and it came to a standstill. (Hagigah 12a).

Thursday, May 2

Day 13 - May 2 - How do you summon the inner strength to advocate for yourself, but not yourself alone? How do you stand with others without losing your own voice?

The urgency of Rabbi Hillel’s famous questions, asked of his students in the 1st century CE, rings true to this day:  “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?

Friday, May 3

Day 14 - May 3 - What limits can I place on my desires? What limits can I give to my ego? How can I stand in awe, stopping for a moment to appreciate both my gifts and my limitations?

Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa taught, “ Those whose fear of sinning takes precedence over their own wisdom, their wisdom will survive. But those whose wisdom takes precedence over their fear of sinning, their wisdom will not survive.” - Pirkei Avot 3:11

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