According to our biblical calendar, we are in the midst of the grain harvest, a season of gladness and growth which lasted seven weeks of seven days. It began with harvesting barley during Passover and ended with harvesting wheat at Shavuot. Forty-nine days the wheat would grow and grow, until it was ready to be cut and harvested just in time for Shavuot, when two loaves of bread would be offered at the Temple. According to our Torah, this honoring and culmination of the growing season is the reason we celebrate Shavuot, and only later did the slightly more mythical aspects of receiving Torah at Mt. Sinai come to coincide with the holiday’s significance. At one time, the flour was the revelation.
Nowadays, for each of those forty-nine days, Jews around the world engage in a practice called “Sefirat haOmer/Counting the Omer,” where we verbally bless and count each day that passes. While we may not be carefully watching our wheat crops grow, tending to their needs and supporting their health, we do have an opportunity to do just that for own spirits and souls. We once were slaves and now we’re free. But in order to truly be free, we must be the very best version of ourselves we can be, aligning our will and actions with the Divine will, living our best lives, and giving it all we’ve got. Just as we honored and celebrated the life growing around us in ancient times, we get to honor and celebrate the life growing within us today, giving loving attention and astute care to the places within that we want to be growing and developing.
This is a time on our calendar to delve deeply into the transformation that’s made possible by imbuing each day with intention, methodically committing to the changes we wish to see. If spring ever comes, with summer right behind, may we experience the transformation we’re seeking through a budding gladness and a thoughtful tending of the spirit, so that we may burst forth with the sun into the most brilliant versions of ourselves that we can be. This spring, you are invited into that process, as Hazon Detroit fills the calendar with opportunities to engage, reconnect, build, grow, dine, and strive for a healthier and more sustainable us.
In loving community,
Rabbi Nate, Wren, Marla, Brittany, Hannah, and Megan