Today is fifteen days of the Omer, which is two weeks and 1 day in the year 5781. חסד שברחמים, Chesed ShebeRachamim, Loving-kindness within Compassion and חסד שבתפארת, Chesed ShebeTiferet, Loving-kindness within Beauty.
Our goal is to gradually rise above the noise and tumult of the world, by steady incremental steps.Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, p3, Conscious Community: A Guide to Inner Work.
May my meditations this year help me to take steady, incremental steps towards spiritual liberation. Allow my counting of the Omer to merit healing a small fraction of the brokenness within the world.
The week of Tiferet / Rachamim
Today begins a week of focusing on a sephirah with many names: Beauty, Compassion, and Truth are the primary guideposts. Tiferet synthesizes the overflow of loving-kindness extended through Chesed with the strength and discipline of Gevurah.
Aesthetic beauty, whether in music or visual arts or theatre or movies / series: these medium pierce through the veils of the ego-self, speaking directly to the soul. Accepting the Loving-kindness of the Divine through the experience of Beauty is a deep gift. Marvel at the flowers blooming this Spring. Relish a well-told yarn. Sink into enchanting acting. Appreciate that all of these gifts reflect Divine Loving-kindness. We reach towards the infinite through art.
Have Compassion for Yourself and the World
It is easy for me to stay within lower Emet, lower Truth – my individual truth, the essence of how I perceive the world. Rather than incorporating eternal Truth into this week’s meditations, I am choosing to focus on Compassion. I choose eyes of compassion to guide me into my depths, towards deeper connections with the people around me, and towards the Light of the Divine.
May I allow Compassion to guide me towards wholeness as we begin to enter the month of Iyyar. Though today is the 30th day of Nisan, the energy of the month of Passover is giving way to the month of Healing.
אני ה” רפאך — I am The Ground of Being, your Healer. (Exodus, chapter 15, verse 26). Some say this Hebrew month, אִייָר, Iyyar, is an acronym for this Hebrew verse. When I choose to see the world through compassion, I allow the Divine Healer to walk with me in this broken world.
Another book for the journey
Ironically, for the last two weeks I did not realize I had another resource in my library for this count — Tarot and the Gates of Light by Mark Horn. We seem to be on the same wavelength because I have referenced the same soul-piercing books he mentions in my meditations. I bought the book because the New York Times did a fascinating interview with Mr. Horn. From the newspaper description, I assumed it was a guide to understanding all of the Tarot cards through a Kabbalistic lens. In reality, it is a book about counting the Omer, using the symbolism of the minor arcana (the suits of wands, cups, swords, and pentacles) to seek spiritual liberation. The book is fascinating even without a Tarot deck and its bibliography is truly a treasure-trove of modern books explicating Jewish mysticism.
Relatedly, The Jewish Planner by Gold Herring is an excellent resource for insights into the Jewish calendar. I strongly recommend purchasing the digital copy of the 5781 planner. The planner is the source for the above insight into Iyyar as an acronym.