Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, May 2, 2020 

Shabbat Shalom,

Counting the Omer – Day 21

Here is the proper blessing to be said each day.  This is how Jewish people fulfill the command to count.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is three weeks and no days of the counting of the Omer.

This is the last installment on the longing to be wholehearted and passionate with God.  What launches us in this longing is to realize that God is wholehearted and passionate toward us.  We are then released by His love to love Him back with reckless abandon.  This is the essence of faith.  We trust that God loves us.  And His love enables us to love Him back.  We release our hearts to love God completely.  And we must not miss this… love is not an emotion.

Rabbi Trail:  In 1989, my father was very sick from a botched surgery for six months before he died of his injuries.  If you must know the details, he went in for a lung biopsy and never left the hospital.  Without realizing it, he had authorized additional surgery if the biopsy revealed cancer.  The surgeon was not board certified and inadvertently cut my dad’s esophagus while removing his diseased lung, so that everything that went down his throat dumped into his chest cavity.  He died six months later, after several efforts to repair the error.  

The reason I brought up this unpleasant story is to say that my family visited my dad several times while he was hospitalized.  Of course we would tell him often how much we love him.  He always replied, “It shows.”    End RT.  

When we love God, we don’t just walk around google-eyed (yes, google was a word before it was a company).  In fact, God tells us how to love Him.  John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  (Here comes the good part.)  Why don’t we ask God, “Which ones do you want us to keep?”  

Let’s continue the conversation with God.  “Surely You don’t mean all of them.  Maybe just the ‘big 2.’  You know, love you and love each other.  But wait, that leads us into circular logic, because You just said to love You by keeping Your commandments.”  

Okay, I can do better than that.  Let’s continue talking to God.  “But You gave some commandments to Jews and some to Gentiles.  So, who is who and which is which.  How Jewish is Jewish?  Wait a minute, wait a minute, aren’t the Jews supposed to teach Your righteousness to the world?  These are challenging question, and this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg (or Goldberg).  So Lord, is it okay if we ask Your Holy Spirit to speak to us individually about how to love you best?  Is it okay if love is expressed individually rather than just as a ‘one size fits all?’” 

One last thought, God is calling us to love Him the way He loves us.  That’s going to take the power of God.  Call to Him to send His Spirit to lead you into all truth.  Shabbat shalom.  R. Michael.