Today is one day of the omer: hesed she’b’hesed.
One of the things that I like about the ritual of the omer is that we count up, which in my view downplays the number 1. The intractable pursuit of being on top can be dangerous (see, Houston Astros), and one can be a lifelong fan of a team that was never the best (see, Houston Astros). In the omer, 1 is just the first step.
It’s fitting, then, that our count begins with the sefirah of hesed in the week of hesed. Hesed, that quality of generosity and openheartedness, of grace and free-flowing love. And today we get a double portion as we’re invited with wide open arms to begin the count.
Short stop Ozzie Smith is an easy pick for today. Known as “The Wizard” for his defense brilliance, he’s one of the best ever in his position (13 Golden Gloves, 15-time All-Star, NLCS MVP). His Hall of Fame plaque reads: “Revolutionized defense play at shortstop with his acrobatic fielding and artistic turning of double plays.” His gymnastic antics extended to a trademark backflip (and the occasional round-off back handspring) that became a fan favorite.
Check out this 3-minute tribute to the Wizard, and try not to smile. It’s pure grace. (OK, most of the commenters apparently hate the music, but I liked it!) After his 1985 NLCS Game 5 walk-off home run, you can hear Cardinals play-by-play announcer Jack Buck telling the crowd, “Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!” You should, too, this first day of the omer. Let the love flow.