Drash on Parashat Emor
Rabbi Dr Orna Triguboff
Emanuel Synagogue, Woollahra, NSW
Earth-based mindfulness is one of the themes for this week’s Torah reading. The seven-week period from Passover to the festival of Shavuot, is called the Omer period, where the Torah commands we count each day and say a blessing. Originally this was connected to the ripening of barley in the Land of Israel, with it culminated in going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the fruits of the land in hand. With the passing of time, and with Jewish creativity, the 16th Century kabbalists understood this period as a time for deep reflection and self-improvement – each of the seven weeks, related to one of the key middot or qualities to which we aspire.
Week 1: Loving-kindness Chesed; Week 2: Courage Gevurah; Week 3: Compassion Tiferet; and this week’s theme: Ambition and Success Netzach. During this week of the Omer, (which ends on the evening of 14 May) we reflect on our goals and our hopes. We reflect on what we are striving towards and reflect on where we direct our energy. We ask: Do our goals align with the principle by which we want to live our lives? We can sometimes be swept up by external pressures, so this is a week to tune into how we feel about our goals and refine them. It’s also a week to celebrate the successes we have accomplished – whether large or small. You might want to journal as you do the Omer practice.
From the night of 14 May, we begin the week of Gratitude & Humility: Hod. Scientific studues show that a daily practice of contemplating what we are grateful for, leads to a higher feeling of wellbeing. It’s a time to give thanks.
Blessings for a meaningful Omer, Rabbi Dr Orna Triguboff