Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, senior rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, IL, shares insights on writing Omer: A Counting. It is available as a print book, an inspirational card deck, a print book and card deck bundle, and as a companion app on Apple, Google Play, and Amazon.
What is the Omer? What spiritual meaning can it provide for contemporary Jews?
The seven weeks of the Omer offer an invitation to walk a spiritual path from constriction to expanse. On the holiday of Shavuot, we will explore seven spiritual principles: decision, discernment, choosing, hope, imagination, courage, and praying. Each one, powerful on its own, can be a sort of north star and illuminate a path toward personal and spiritual growth.
How do you suggest that someone who has never counted the Omer before get started? How can Omer: A Counting enhance their practice?
For forty-nine days, or seven weeks, we take on a discipline, an obligation to mindfully enter the day, to be aware of its potential power to matter, to make a difference, to count for something. Awaken your routine with intention, with attention.
To get started simply begin or end your day with a moment of thought. Perhaps you sit in a beautiful place in your home, perhaps you leaf through a book that’s been inspirational to you. Perhaps you just take a walk or look out the window. It doesn’t have to be for a long time, even five minutes will do. And you say to yourself, today I make myself count for something good.
The book is divided into seven spiritual principles. How did you come up with these principles? What is their significance?
I offer an original set of spiritual principles for the seven weeks of Omer, listed above. These principles are points of light to illuminate a path towards spiritual awareness as we attempt to be free from what enslaves us.
Was there something new that you learned while writing this book?
It was very powerful for me to articulate the seven spiritual principles as stepping stones. Each one can be an entire practice on a spiritual path that sometimes feels more like a zigzag than a straight line. For example, every internal change begins with the spiritual principle of decision: we decide to behave a different way, to live a different way, to interact in a different way.
Rabbi Kedar is available to teach online on topics in her books. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar is the senior rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, Illinois. She is the author of two CCAR Press books, Omer: A Counting (2014) and Amen: Seeking Presence with Prayer, Poetry, and Mindfulness Practice (2019).