We are in the midst of the Omer, the 49-day period between Pesach, the holiday celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery, and Shavuot, the holiday celebrating the receiving of the Torah, The Kabbalists have held the Omer as the period of self-reflection and spiritual development, with the study of the Kabbalistic s’pherot as traits to develop, as a person and as a community (which are inseparable). The Omer is a period of great hope and anticipation, a countdown from liberation to revelation.
Lately I’ve been following the news about the COVID-19 crisis. I try to balance realizing the bad news with finding nuggets of hope-and form of treatment or vaccine against the virus; local home-grown efforts of manufacturing ventilators, gowns and masks; the valiant work of dedicated nurses, doctors, and other medical workers saving lives while risking (and often losing) their own; and people coming together and helping each other, supplying food to neighbors and calling them to see if they’re okay. You need to hear both-the bad news along with hope, to help you make informed decisions, and to keep you going through the situation.
There have been many fine state governors addressing the pandemic-Wolf of Pennsylvania, Cuomo of New York, Murphy of New Jersey, Pritzker of Illinois- and we must do our own part in demanding that all officials at all levels of government work to deal with the crisis; our voices, and our votes, are our weapons of choice. (The Primary election day in Pennsylvania is June 2, and the general election is November 3. Please get out there and vote.)
Our conscious decisions, such as to weak masks outside and self-quarantine if we’re not feeling well, are part of what has helped us through the pandemic, and will help us defeat the COVID-19, along with trump and his lackeys who have betrayed us; likewise, our self-loving, self-respecting self-assessment throughout the Omer period leads us to greater spiritual fulfillment.