Saturday, May 12, 2012

Emor: Counting our words

Emor Lev. 23:10 –Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When you come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest.

This verse can be understood metaphorically.  “When we enter the land” means when we enter into a sacred or holy space. Such time and space can be anywhere and everywhere, as Jacob realized 
when he awoke from his sleep (ma nora hamakom hazeh.)  Realizing we are in the midst of holiness, we are instructed to reap the harvest of that awareness by bringing a sheaf (omer).  The word “omer” can be understood as wise speech (omer, with an aleph, as aleph and ayin can be exchanged). Thus, the fruit of realizing that we are living in holiness - in connection -  is to bring careful priestly attention to our internal speech (our verbal thinking) and to our communications with others.  Speech can elevate, but it also can desecrate, as with the blasphemer at the end of the parsha. 

May we be blessed to make the time and space to allow our minds to settle so that we can become aware of (i.e. count) our intentions and use  speech (omer) that heals and transforms ourselves and the world.*

Thanks to Rabbi Jonathan Slater for inspiration: Torah Study for the Soul:Selections from No'am Elimelekh: 30 NE Emor.

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