The first seder is four weeks from tonight, which means that four weeks from tomorrow night we'll begin counting the Omer -- mindfully marking the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot, between liberation and revelation. The Omer is one of my favorite seasons of the Jewish year. Counting the days (and spending some time each day focusing on teachings aimed at deepening my experience of the counting) has become something I look forward to each year.
There are a lot of excellent Omer books which offer teachings or meditations for each day of the seven weeks between these two festivals. I hope you'll consider picking up a copy of mine.
The Omer is the period of 49 days between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot. Through counting the Omer, we link liberation with revelation. Once we counted the days between the Pesach barley offering and the Shavuot wheat offering at the Temple in Jerusalem. Now as we count the days we prepare an internal harvest of reflection, discernment, and readiness. Kabbalistic (mystical) and Mussar (personal refinement) traditions offer lenses through which we can examine ourselves as we prepare ourselves to receive Torah anew at Shavuot. Here are 49 poems, one for each day of the Omer, accompanied by helpful Omer-counting materials. Use these poems to deepen your own practice as we move together through this seven-week corridor of holy time.
Praise for Toward Sinai: Omer Poems
Rachel Barenblat has gifted her readers with a set of insightful poems to accompany our journey through the wilderness during the Counting of the Omer. Deft of image and reference, engaging and provocative, meditative and surprising, this collection is like a small purse of jewels. Each sparkling gem can support and enlighten readers on their paths toward psycho-spiritual Truth.
--Rabbi Min Kantrowitz, author of Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide
Rachel Barenblat comes bearing a rich harvest. In Toward Sinai, her series of poems to be read daily during the counting of the Omer, a poem chronicles every step between Exodus and Sinai. The poems exist in the voices of the ancient Hebrews measuring grain each day between Passover and Shavuot, and also in a contemporary voice that explores the meaning of the Omer in our own day. Together, the poems constitute a layered journey that integrates mysticism, nature, and personal growth. As Barenblat writes: “Gratitude, quantified.”
--Rabbi Jill Hammer, author of The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women
Your Torah is transcendent and hits home every time.
-- Rabbi Michael Bernstein, Rabbi Without Borders Fellow
Toward Sinai: Omer poems $12 on Amazon
(If you'd like to explore ordering copies in bulk for your synagogue or Omer group, let me know.)