You don’t know what you don’t know.
Ignorance may be bliss for the ignorant; for those whose reality remains unrecognized, however, ignorance is a form of “moral deficiency” (see below).
The good news is that ignorance is correctable — and this Omer period, the time of special awareness between Passover (began on April 3) and Shavuot (this year: May 23), seems a perfect time to focus on this.
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A Road to Knowing
The Passover journey is launched in “not knowing” — as when a new Pharaoh arises who does not know Joseph (Exodus 1:8) or God (Exodus 5:2) — and it aims for “knowing”: “…You shall know that I am YHVH, your God…” (Exodus 6:7). David Silber calls this “not knowing” a form of “moral deficiency.” The Exodus experiences and our travels in the wilderness are meant to increase our knowledge of the divine so that we can better serve God. More at “On the Road to Knowing.”
A key element in the journey from liberation to revelation is understanding the workings of oppression, and our part in them. We cannot work effectively to end what we do not comprehend.
So this year, moving from Passover to Shavuot, I commit to learning more about how oppression works and how liberation is accomplished. I invite others to join me:
Let’s work together, as we count the Omer, to make this Omer count.
Please share this graphic to encourage others to participate.
Below is the daily recitation and meditation adapted for focusing on making this Omer count in the journey away from oppression. See also Exodus From Racism.
Daily Recitation and Meditation, adapted for “A Song Every Day”
Here I am, ready and prepared to count the Omer, and to make the Omer count.
It is written —
You shall count for yourself from the day after the day of rest, from the day you brought the sheaf of wave-offering; seven complete weeks shall be counted; you shall count unto the day after the seventh week, numbering fifty days; and you shall present a new meal-offering unto HASHEM. — Lev 23:15-16
— which tells us that Passover is just the beginning of a journey.
Aware that we are on a journey toward knowing God — from liberation to revelation — I undertake to know more today than I did yesterday about the workings of oppression.
I bless and count:
**Blessed are You, God, Ruler/Spirit of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.
[Insert count, followed by closing prayer]
In the spirit of the Exodus, I pray for the release of all whose bodies and spirits remain captive, and pledge my own hands to help effect that liberation.
**Here is the daily blessing associated with the counting, recited in the evening, beginning on the second night of Passover (Day One) and continuing through the night before Shavuot (Day 49) in Hebrew — with two forms of address for God — and in English:
A) (feminine address for God:) Beruchah at yah, eloheinu ruach haolam, asher kidshatnu bemitzvoteha vetzivatnu al sefirat ha’omer.
Blessed are You, God, Ruler/Spirit of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.
B) (male address for God:) Barukh ata YHVH, eloheinu melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha-omer.
We praise You, Adonai, Our God, Master of time and space whose commandments add holiness to our lives, Who commanded us to count the omer.
[This translation and transliteration were borrowed from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and from Jill Hammer’s Omer Calendar of Biblical Women at RitualWell.org. For additional text to accompany the counting, see Five Steps.]
This is followed by —
“Today is the_____ day of the omer, making _____ weeks and _____ days.”