Counting the Omer for Activists: Week 5
As part of our #TorahForTheResistance series by young scholars and students of Judaism and rabbinics, we offer this Counting the Omer for activists. Read more about using the Omer for activists, see previous weeks’ questions, and find below this week’s reflections designed specifically activists.
About the Omer
Between Passover and Shavuot, our tradition offers us a practice called the Counting the Omer, or Sefirat Ha’Omer. The Jewish mystical tradition has imbued this time with deeper spiritual meaning by creating a system of ‘counting’ that can help us experience different aspects of the Divine. These aspects are represented by the Kabbalistic system of sefirot, a structure representing the ten emanations through which God is revealed to us.
As activists, Sefirat Ha’Omer is a spiritual opportunity to engage with this fundamental political tension: What is the world that we want to see? Where do we encounter that world and what work is to be done?
Week Five: Hod/Glory and Splendor (May 9th-15th)
As we aspire and envision, our tradition reminds us to not lose sight of the places where the world is already as it should be. This is the aspect of Hod. This is the week to notice the splendor in the world around you: the beauty of nature, community, friendships, art, or any other place you find beauty. Where do you find beauty in your own life, and in the world around you? It is a time to notice your own goodness and success, and your good qualities as a justice leader. What are you proud of in your work for justice? This can also be a time to notice the seeds of our success: What movements, communities, and justice work are already doing amazing things, giving us hope for change in the future? Hod is also about restraint. Are there moments where it is helpful for us not to take action, or to act with more restraint?
We can also understand Hod in relation to Netzach (Endurance and Victory). One of the translations of L’Hodot in Hebrew is “to admit”. As we build and exercise our power, how can we admit the places where we are not sure, where we have more thinking to do? How can we become comfortable with advocating strongly for our own beliefs while appreciating that we do not have all the answers and that other opinions may have merit in their own right?