Today is forty-nine days, which is seven weeks, of the
Omer. Shechinah of Shechinah, Malchut of Malchut. Indwelling of the Indwelling
of the Divine. Sovereignty of the Sovereignty of the Divine.
There are two ways to look at this momentous day. What is
the purest essence, the brightest light of Knowing, Goodness, Being within you?
Are you connected to that pure Divine essence within? Can you feel It reaching
out to you, hoping you will return to your truest essence?
Take a moment today to be still with your inner
perfection. Know that making the purest essence of you sovereign in your life
creates holiness that emanates throughout your interactions with the world
Do you have trouble connecting with these words? Is it
hard to see past the brokenness you see around you and within you? Then take
time to create space for your Shadow. Today is also the dark night of the soul
— you must crack open your core wound to find the vessel that can contain the
revelation waiting for you.
Pharoah that binds you, making it difficult for you to reach beyond the
material world, makes you mock the earnestness of my posts. That is not the
other, that is you. That is the Shadow you need to embrace to become whole.
Dance with your shadow, embrace the darkness, and you will see that it is
obscuring your spark of the Divine. God within feeds the Shadow and the Shadow
nourishes your life force.
This is a blessed journey. A cycle that repeats every year. I am so blessed to be on this journey with you. I am blessed to have witnessed the ordination of rabbis and chazzans; the graduation of profound chaplains. All of them, my fellow students at the Academy of Jewish Religion, California, who today joined the ranks of alumni, are continuing the journey of being present to the souls around them and within them.
each be fully present to ourselves and to those around us, today and every day.
Today is forty-eight days, which is six weeks and six
days, of the Omer. Yesod of Shechinah / Malchut, Bonding of the Indwelling /
Sovereignty of the Divine.
When a persona is created, it conceals the parts of the
self that do not fit into that body. Can you see beyond your personality into
your shadowy depths? What part of you do you mourn for the most? How can you
start to bring it toward the light, to integrate it into your daily being?
Can you accept that your shadow will always be a part of
you? Can you work with, and play with, your shadow? Is it too painful to accept
all that you have repressed, all that you thought was No Good?
Your shadow has free reign within your unconscious and
often speaks to you in dreams. Not remembering dreams can be a sign of holding
so tightly to your perception of reality that you’re not willing to make space
for irrational possibility within life.
lived my whole life by a code of rationality. Often, that code has led me down
ugly, twisted paths. I yearn to dance with my shadow, to play within the
primordial possibilities of my eternal womb.
May you be
freed from the judgments of your parents, your community, and your rational
mind. May you create space for the twisted, ugly, broken parts of you. May you
bond with the entirety of you, the multitudes within you. May you know the
freedom to explore and metabolize all of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
healthy to discipline one’s actions. It is unhealthy to deny what is happening
within you. May you know true bonding with the spark of holiness, the broken
Today is forty-seven days, which is six weeks and five
days, of the Omer. Hod of Shechinah / Malchut, Splendor of the Indwelling /
Sovereignty of the Divine.
I wrote a post last night that Facebook ate. My primary
point: how do you create physical space for the spark of Goodness, the eternal
flame of knowing, within? How do you ensure it is expressed in all your
thoughts, feelings, and actions?
Secondarily, I spent yesterday wrestling with Rabbi Finley’s Gnostic notion of this sephira as The Shadow, Pharoah, Yetser Hara, the broken vessel, shattered aspect of the Divine. This is a very powerful aspect of inner meditation. All the parts of you that are denied in childhood are stuffed into this inner void. Everything you deny in order to form your persona lives within your shadow. That is why it is the permanently exiled princess — you can reclaim aspects of your shadow, accept those things as part of you, only to discover new depths of hidden dimensions within.
Is the inclination towards evil, towards repression, an aspect of the Divine? Or does it exist because the Divine contracted and created space for something else to be? Are these two halves of the same whole?
the supernal womb, as Shechinah is the physical womb. Our shadows live within
that secret dark space within each of us that gives birth to our personas.
Through Yesod, our inner essence is revealed to the world. May we always
remember the splendor wrapped within the disgust that repels us from people and
places that connect to our own shadow. May we never forget the generative force
within our wombs.
Today is forty-six days, which is six weeks and four days,
of the Omer. Netzach of Shechinah, Eternal Indwelling of the Divine.
I can think of no better description of Shabbat. Eternal
Indwelling of the Divine.
So often, people tell me they don’t believe in God. My simple answer is “I probably don’t believe in that god either.” (Which, like many things, I learned from Rabbi Mordecai Finley.)
Let’s set aside theological debates and focus on
commonality. The Good, the spark of mystery that creates consciousness, your
soul — all of these thing connect you to The Cause of Being, to other humans,
and to the universe. That is the Eternal Indwelling of the Divine.
week, like clockwork, we have another opportunity to sink into eternity. To
separate ourselves from material reality and reconnect with our own souls and
the souls that surround us.
This is an
incredible journey. I have never made it this far in the daily mitzvah of
counting the Omer. Thank you for spending part of your day reflecting with me
on the depths within us. May today bring you a glimpse of the Eternal
Indwelling of the Divine that calls out from your depths.
Today is forty-five days, which is six weeks and three
days, of the Omer. Tiferet of Shechinah, Emet of Malchut. Beauty of Divine
Indwelling, Truth in Sovereignty.
What is the meaning of your life? What is the core truth
that drives you to seek The Good?
I’m not asking what brings you joy – or even what your
core brokenness is. Though both of those things can (and should) point toward
your core truth. I’m asking what is at the center of your motivation, what
keeps you attached to a moral and life-affirming path? What can you return to
that points toward the spark of light within you?
Transformation is part of my core truth. I want to create
containers to allow as many people as possible to find the best version of
themselves. I’m not talking about quitting your day job (though maybe). I’m
talking about recognizing the part of you that is beyond material concerns,
finding ways to connect with that part of yourself on a daily basis, and using
the wisdom of your higher self to guide your actions.
the Judaism I wish to share with the world. Soul nourishing, ego
compartmentalizing, shadow acknowledging, spirit enhancing wisdom.
find the core truth that motivates you and connect with it every day. This is
the reason Judaism has three daily prayer services – to give people time to
connect with their core truth, to elevate time beyond materiality. It breaks my
heart when Jews tell me they’re turned off by prayers. I concede the ancient
poetry can be difficult to connect with — especially given the many false,
hyper-rationalistic English translations around us. Setting aside my desire to
crack open Jewish prayer for more people — may you have time today, and
everyday, to find your way beyond your ego, to a primarily spiritual level of
And if all
else fails, meditate on the question. Prayerful meditation can open doors you
never knew existed. Meditating on what it would mean if I believed HaShem
guided us on our paths (one of those English mistranslations of a Jewish
morning blessing) led me to rabbinical school.
Today is forty-three days, which is six weeks and one day,
of the Omer. Chesed of Shechinah, Grace / Lovingkindess / Pure Love within the
Indwelling of the Divine.
I’ll be honest – I counted the Omer last night (according
to Jewish law, a day starts at sunset and the only way to say a blessing when
counting the Omer is to count at night). And yet, I’m still finding it
difficult to meditate for myself, let alone publicly, into this sephira.
Nothing to do with the day / topic – everything to do with the sinus infection
I’ve been pretending didn’t exist while I prepared for my finals.
One thing I know for sure — I need to spend more time
reflecting on the inner light within, the pure grace that sparks that light,
and how I can be a better vessel for the sovereignty of grace and love.
children, my partner, the people I pass on the street — no one deserves to
bear the brunt of my sickness. It is so hard to act from grace when you’re sick
and your sleep is interrupted three times by a teething child. And yet, it is
essential that I not let circumstances override my will to goodness.
recognize that I’m human and I’m never going to be perfect. This process, of
discovering the eternal truths described by the sephirot, provides insight into
the human condition. I am grateful for this roadmap, reminding me that the
journey never ends. L’chaim! To life!
(Did you know that Chai — that ubiquitious Jewish word often found on necklaces — means “living,” not “life”? It is actually a modern amulet, warding off the evil eye / evil spirits and attaching the soul of the wearer to goodness. Though clearly, many people wear it as a simple sign of association with Judaism without knowledge of the spiritual implications of the word.)
Today is forty-four days, which is six weeks and two days, of the Omer. Gevurah of Shechinah / Malchut, Discipline / Strength of the Divine Indwelling / Sovereignty.
When we create strict rules and hold ourselves and others to standards that cannot be upheld, we breed rigidity, disgust, and despair.
Much of my life was ruled by lower Gevurah, by anger and resentment and a belief in the superiority of my world view. Until I was able to break free of my ego’s prison, I was not able to love purely or participate meaningfully in life.
My ego’s desire for personal perfection is a demon I battle daily. What aspect of Gevurah enslaves you? Do you fear the power of judgment / anger, preferring to avoid it entirely? Are you sure your political values are more just than alternative priorities? How do you make space for others while holding fast to your convictions?
I aspire to the sovereignty of The Good. I aspire to be a vessel for the highest version of myself, the part of me that doesn’t get angry when someone cuts me off or goes too slowly because they care more about reading their phone than driving.
I want to have the strength to hold fast to this Tree of Life. To create space for others to grow into themselves and to accept the limitations other people choose to place on their growth.
May you experience the soul expanding, life affirming beauty of becoming a disciplined vessel of sovereignty.
For a concrete example of the ego’s limitations, the movie Dr. Strange provides an immersive experience. Set aside the problematic fears of cultural appropriation that chose a white woman over an Asian lead. This is my favorite film of 2016.
Today is forty-two days, which is six weeks, of the Omer.
Shechinah / Malchut of Yesod, Indwelling / Kingdom of Bonding.
feel the spark of holiness the illuminates your personality? Do you try to
cultivate your connection to your higher self, the part of you beyond the ego’s
wants and needs?
also the combination of the sephirot most closely connected to gender and
sexuality. I think about the conversations I’ve had recently about creating
spiritual spaces that are welcoming to non-binary expressions of gender.
Judaism, like many religions, was created within a binary framework. Our sacred
language, Hebrew, is gendered. Yet, can we truly reach our full potential
within binary constructions? Many people see the social construction of gender
and sexuality far too constricting.
However you define your gender and sexuality, does it
contribute to your feeling of holiness and wholeness? Is it a source of trauma,
bliss, or an amalgamation of the two? Do you separate your experience of
sexuality from spirituality? Are you able to see your body as a temple, a
perfect vessel for holiness — despite all of the cultural noise about the need
to improve yourself? Advertising for diets, gyms, abnormally sized models —
all contribute to doubting the holiness and perfection of your body right now.
Not to mention the difficulty in seeing your body as perfect if you suffer from
a chronic illness, particularly a life-threatening one.
Bonding to the Divine. It exists within your cells. You are a source of good.
You are attached to The Source of Good. May you take time today to honor the
sacred bond of all that you are to all that will be.
Today is forty-one days, which is six weeks and six days,
of the Omer. Yesod of Yesod. Bonding of Bonding.
the day to face your personality. It is the reflection of all of your inner
drives and higher aspirations. It is the fabric from which the world sees you
and hears you.
personality can be difficult to clearly uncover. You may think it’s ridiculous
to even claim typology exists, that all that a human is, was, and will be can
be sorted into different, cleanly defined hats. I definitely thought that when
the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was the only system I knew (and when I seemed
to be beaten over the head with it at work and by a career coach).
The Enneagram, on the other hand, speaks to me. It speaks to my possibilities, my blind spots, and my natural abilities. It is another gift I found through Rabbi Mordecai Finley.
dark side of my personality — the way people perceive me as cold, all-knowing,
and impatient — is painful. A lifetime of habits is hard to break. Leaning
into softness is my growth edge. Having a spiritual practice helps me
disassociate with my ego’s deep wounds, its desperate desire to be validated,
and its need for constant forward motion.
May all that you have uncovered thus far on our journey through the sephirot help you listen to the core of your being. May you feel the deep resonance of your unconscious. May the holiness within fill you with light and love, and the will to seek the good. Trust that you are the best version of yourself you could possibility be. And on a daily basis, you become a better version of yourself.
Today is forty days, which is five weeks and five days, of
the Omer. Hod of Yesod. Splendor of Bonding.
Finley explains Hod as the tabernacle, priest, vessel of the prophetic word.
And he teaches that Yesod is where energy becomes consciousness, your natural
patterns / personality.
back to last Saturday and can’t believe I was across the country, welcoming in
the week with a couple dozen rabbinical students from across the ideological
spectrum. I think about how we are each trying to be a vessel for holy energy.
I wonder if we pause enough in our studies to sink into the task ahead of us.
I think about my final presentation for my Bikur Cholim
and Aveilut class (Jewish laws of visiting the sick and dying). I’ll be talking
about the soul’s journey after death. I wonder if we bond too fiercely to our
material possessions and material status to really penetrate the splendor of
bonding. I worry we have almost lost the ability to connect to higher realms
through prayer — instead relying on mindfulness meditation, as if prayer
wasn’t the original mindfulness practice.
more hours in the day. I hope in the coming years to learn how to be present
with my family at the end of a semester. I know this year, I’ve failed. I worry
about the chasm in my life — the intense bonding I feel toward my family,
which is distinct from my bonding with rabbinical school. I hope to create a
balance between them, even though I know there is never true balance with
toddlers — only uncovering news ways to have patience.
feel the splendor of your personality today. May you connect with the holy
sparks within and be a light for those you encounter.