As I count the Omer, it is impossible not to think of the seven-week journey. For those of us that have studied Jewish tradition, it is a truism that the Israelites did not leave Egypt primarily to escape slavery but rather to be free to serve God. They took a risk for a reward.
The Israelites were certainly aware of the risk. In what we would now call a good kvetch, they regularly looked at the hardship of the journey and reminisced about the illusory safety and comfort of their enslaved status. Except they weren’t really harkening back to comfort, as forced labor, inhumane conditions, and even the potential risk of death by an overseer, as we read earlier in Exodus, could not have been fond memories. Instead, I think they were lamenting their newfound lack of certainty and the unknown reward in exchange for known risks. [continue reading…]