Omer Day 33
18 Iyar 5780
Tuesday 12 May 2020
Today is the 33rd day of the Omer: Lag b’Omer, Hod within Hod, glory within humble splendor. For those following the tradition of the first 32 days of the Omer as a time of mourning, it’s a welcome break allowing us to bring joy back into our hearts in celebration. Our practice for today, written in honor of and inspired by Lag b’Omer, comes from Nigel Savage, President and CEO of Hazon: The Jewish Lab for Sustainability. Thank you for sharing this practice calling in memory and hope in service of celebration and envisioning that which will sustain us.
From Nigel: On the face of it, Lag b’Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, is a minor festival, if that. In Israel, it’s mainly a time of barbecues. But it marks the end of a time of semi-mourning. Haircuts are permitted on Lag b’Omer; weddings and celebrations begin after it. The reason for all of this is normally forgotten and abstract. The tradition has it that there was a plague. 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva died. And Lag b’Omer was when the deaths started to decline.
Every year since that time, ostensibly, we’ve counted the Omer and celebrated Lag b’Omer as a break from the time of mourning. The Torah is the same each year, but we are different, and the world is different. The idea of a plague, of people dying, of life interrupted — and then the possibility of light at the end of the tunnel, coming back to life — these are not myth or ancient history any more; this year we have a deeper sense of them than ever.
So Lag b’Omer this year is a moment to look back and look forwards in the hopes of celebration. May we celebrate Lag b’Omer with a full heart, with hope for the future, and with the determination – like the students of Rabbi Akiva – to build a better world on the other side of the plague.
☀️Omer Day 33 practice [18 Iyar 5780 | Tuesday 12 May 2020]☀️
- Sit: Put your feet on the ground. Breathe. Take three long breaths.
- Reflect: Think back to…. January, let’s say. A time before. Where were you (if you can remember) on Tu b’Shvat, the full moon of shvat? (Feb 9th & 10th) How about Purim, roughly the full moon of Adar? (March 9th & 10th) Where were you for seder night on Passover, the full moon of Nissan? (April 8th and 9th). And now we’re just a little past the new moon of Iyar. So: breathe. Remember.
- Take up a pen and journal: What have you learned this year, during the spring, during the counting of the omer? What has been good about all of this – what do you want to remember for good?
- Moving forwards… write a little about light, about life opening up again. Your feelings, your hopes, your intentions. What do you hope to celebrate?
- Close your practice returning to the breath and celebrating the passage of oxygen into your lungs and body.
- Notebook or Journal
- Writing utensil
☀️ This post is part of our Omer Wellness Series – a daily 7-minute opportunity for introspection and intentional focus on caring for ourselves, each other, and our environment in this incredibly challenging time. ☀️
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