Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Introducing the Omer for 5775

The Haggadah tells us that on Passover we are to feel that we ourselves are going out from bondage and in to freedom.

B'khol dor v’dor chayav adam lirot et atzmo k’ilu hu yatza mi’Mitzrayim.From generation to generation, each of us is obligated to see ourselves as though we personally came forth from Egypt.

Egypt, the place of bondage. Mitzrayim, the narrow places, where we get stuck. There are so many kinds of bondage - physical, psychological, financial, emotional. Going forth from Egypt, leaving behind our own version of bondage, is a personal journey. Yet it is one we do together, not alone. The Israelites left Egypt as a thronging mass of people. If you were at the People's Climate March in New York City in September of 2014, that crowd was smaller than the crowd of Israelites leaving Egypt. And yet, each person who left was just one individual, walking on his or her own feet, or, as an infant being carried by a mother or father, as a fragile elder being held up by his or her son or daughter. Individuals making up a crowd, surging toward freedom.

Today, in the face of wars, racism, violence, poverty, and - the one that touches all these and more - climate change, how can we possibly find freedom?

The answers remain both individual and personal, and also communal. Freedom in the face of climate change is about both personal and communal change, it is a journey we take as individuals, but also together.

As we count the Omer this year, 5775, we take the journey, first of redemption out from bondage to freedom, and then across the desert to Sinai and revelation, where all of us once again stand together. This year, with the help of writer friends of Ma'yan Tikvah, we will spend seven weeks journeying from bondage to freedom to redemption. Like all of our human journeys, and like the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, it will not be a straight line. There will be ups and downs and ins and outs and backs and forths. Once we achieve freedom, and afterward, as we journey toward a redemption we do not realize is coming, we will, as is so truly human, continue to struggle, but we will struggle from a new and very different physical and psychological and spiritual perspective. 

The Omer posts will begin on Saturday evening. Just as we leave Egypt together, cross the sea together, and stand at Sinai together, so too, let us count the days together. Until then, wishing you Chag Sameach, a joyous and blessed Passover.

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Rabbi Katy Allen is a board certified chaplain and serves as a Nature Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit. She is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. She is a co-convener and coordinator of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network.

Photo by Lisa B. Kaye

No comments:

Post a Comment