Parshat B’midbar • Numbers 1:1–4:20

“Come on now, count the Omer

You can count the Omer

Come on now, count the Omer

1, 2, 3, 4 Count with me!

Think of us as having just left Egypt (a narrow place)

Liberation’s precious — not a gift to waste

Think about the ways in which we can do our share

The world still needs all of us to work on its repair…”

With this week’s Torah portion, B’midbar, we begin the Book of Numbers. Moses was commanded to take a census, to count the Israelites who had left Egypt. In the later rabbinic mind, the Israelites being counted were also themselves counting, numbering the days between Passover and Shavuot as they awaited acceptance of their sacred obligation. They knew the narrow straights (mitzrim in Hebrew) of Egypt (mitzrayim), and with the acceptance of the commandments on Sinai, learned their role in saving others from the same predicament. These song lyrics, written by Juliet I. Spitzer, remind us that we, too, count. Can we count on you?

Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer

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