Thirty days of the Omer 5777

Today is thirty days, which is four weeks and two days, of the Omer. Gevurah of Hod, Judgment / Discipline in Splendor / Prophecy / Gratitude.

I’ll be honest- Hod and Netzach are the hardest sephirot for me to try to write something original about, particularly something for seven days straight. This feels like a particularly obvious permutation. Of course you don’t want to walk through life with rose colored glasses and accept whatever happens as the will of the universe. Life is meant to be lived. In creating space for the flow of the universe, we must also align ourselves with a vision of our better selves, and the better world we wish to live in. We each have responsibility to keep moving forward toward wholeness, toward our best selves.

I have no proper transition to what is really on my mind — I had the pleasure of hearing from many learned scholars today, including Rabbi Dr. Rachel Adler and Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (and the world’s best mohel, Dr. Andrew Shpall.) The topic was brit milah, and hatafat dam brit, as part of conversion. In English – that’s the fact that circumcision is an integral part of Jewish conversion. It’s not simply a physical act — if one was circumcised without the ritual, a ceremony must be performed. There are a variety of interpretations of this entire process and I can’t do justice to all of my thoughts right now. I will say – it was my first time hearing from a feminist theologian and I’m such a fan. The event was sponsored by the Sandra Caplan Community Bet Din.

Twenty-eight days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-eight days, which is four weeks, of the Omer. Shechinah of Netzach. Indwelling of Eternity.

Have you made space for Eternity within you? Do you recognize the Sovereignty within yourself that holds space for your Endurance?

A deeply personal conversation today reminded me how easy it is to lose sight of the Indwelling of the Divine. We are each containers for the Infinite. Eternity lives within each of us.

On a scientific level, people talk about the way your cells decompose and transform after death — how everything about you feeds the rest of the universe, while you’re alive and after you pass on. On a spiritual level, our souls are on a journey toward unification, wholeness, and holiness. May we each make space for the divinity within us. May we feel the pulsating presence of eternity with every breath.

Twenty-seven days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-seven days, which is three weeks and six days, of the Omer. Yesod of Netzach. Bonding of Eternal.

You must cleave to the eternal truth within you. Without bonding, the eternal become ephemeral.

Have you resolved to move in a new direction? Take one concrete step today to begin the change. Is there a person or community that is particularly meaningful to you? Commit yourself with a material action to express your spiritual attachment.

Meditating on Netzach, and reading the JPS Commentary on the Book of Ruth,[1] has reminded me how incredibly lucky I am to have had the courage to cleave to my bashert, my soulmate. He created the space for me to grow into myself, he provides the material security that allows me to go to rabbinical school while raising two young children, and he is the embodiment of Chesed.

My prayer is that we can each hear the Divine voice calling us to dig into ourselves, to dig through ourselves, and to bond to the eternal wisdom within.

[1]Traditionally, the Book of Ruth is read during Shavuot, the holiday that comes after the counting of the Omer. I am reading this commentary for a course on the Hebrew Bible.

Twenty-six days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-six days, which is three weeks and five days, of the Omer. Hod of Netzach. Splendor of Eternity.

When you sink deep into the core truth of your life. When you pause to imagine the essence beyond material reality. When you recognize that your will is connected to the goodness at the center of the universe. When you feel the embrace of love and truth available through clear-eyed discipline. Then you have sunk into the Splendor of Eternity.

May you hear the prophetic truth reaching out to you from Hod of Netzach. May you have the will to birth your calling.

Twenty-five days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-five days, which is three weeks and four days, of the Omer. Netzach of Netzach, Enduring Eternity.

I find these questions from Rabbi Simon Jacobson intriguing: “Since I have will and determination, why am I so mercurial? Am I afraid of accessing my endurance and ability to commit? Do I fear being trapped by my commitment? Is it a reaction to some past trauma?”

May your memories help you understand your current ways of reacting to the world, and not get you stuck in memory loops. May you be able to fully process trauma you have experienced and may trauma you are experiencing end quickly.

May you spend today resting in the holiness of enduring eternity, enjoying the sweet light of Shabbat candles, the sweet company of family and friends, and the sweet knowledge that wherever you are on your journey is exactly where your soul needs to be today.

Shabbat shalom!

Twenty-four days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-four days, which is three weeks and three days, of the Omer. Tiferet of Netzach, Beautiful Truth of Eternity / Endurance.

It is often hard for people to admit the truth they are trying to convey. They hide their intentions, seeking out your truth before deciding whether to share their ideas. This can make it quite difficult to know how to answer the secretive person’s questions.

When you value truth through eternity, you may look back on conversations and wonder if someone took advantage of you. It’s possible that will happen. Until we all have the strength to be forthright, while knowing the appropriate limits – based on age, level of intimacy, or sundry other context clues – we must have the strength to endure the consequences of living amongst people afraid of speaking honestly.

I am reminded of Allison Sagadencky’s drash “have the foresight to be forthright and the insight to be polite.

Twenty-three days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-three days, which is three weeks and two days, of the Omer. Gevurah of Netzach, Discipline in Eternity.

Where does evil come from? It comes from the system of upside-down emanations that broke off from Gevurah. When discipline turns rigid and careful judgement becomes righteous indignation, you begin to glimpse the web of lies that spawned evil.

The distinction between discipline and destructiveness is particularly difficult to maintain when you’re tired. I lived through it this morning. I was brutal and totally out of control.

Every night I pray for healing – I pray that the cracks I have caused in this particular sephira can be mended and that I will feel the overwhelming abundance of holiness that surrounds us on a daily basis.

The truth is, none of my meditating matters if I forget the key to endurance: sleep.

May you have a good night’s sleep. May my son learn the joy and intense pleasure of sleeping through the night. May I break the habit of raising my voice to my children — it doesn’t work and just gives me a sore throat. May we all find healthy boundaries to guide our enduring search for wholeness.

Twenty-two days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-two days, which is three weeks and one day, of the Omer. Chesed of Netzach, Lovingkindness of Endurance / Eternity.

Through Endurance, we bring forth pure, selfless Love into the world — regardless of outside forces. Netzach is the emanation that guides you to endure, to hold steadfast to your goals despite all obstacles; to refrain from gossiping though you feel deeply slighted; to accept with grace the irrationality of your children whose brains are still developing and not yell or demand subservience.

Part of the process of counting the Omer and meditating on these emanations is to understand how these ideals are broken inside of you and making a plan to fix it.

May we each have the courage to endure. May the light of Love envelop us and enlighten us. May we know the core Truth guiding our lives, may we have the Discipline to determine how to build space for that Truth in our daily lives, and may we have the Endurance to embody and enact that Truth every day.

Twenty-one days of the Omer 5777

Today is twenty-one days, which are three weeks, of the Omer. Malchut / Shechinah of Tiferet / Emet. Kingdom / Indwelling of Beauty / Truth / Compassion.

I’m struck by how a week is completed in the world of action. I’m struck by the tension of the male and female energy in the words used for the “lowest” emanation, Kingdom, Nobility, Indwelling.

Shechinah is the exiled presence of the Divine, the Immanence within. She is the Mother of our souls, and like her, we are on a journey to fix the broken within ourselves and within the world.

Have you ever stopped to listen to the Truth within you? Do you hear it calling to you in your dreams? Do you push it aside, claiming you’re hearing irrational fantasies of yesteryear?

Seven years ago, I heard my Truth. It took me six years to sort out the courage and the process to fulfill my soul’s calling. My body thirsts for prayer because that is how I reach those depths within. Imagining what it would mean if I believed God guided us on our path led me to hear Her answer: immerse myself in Judaism, go to rabbinical school, and help others find their way to this transformative, healing, soul-nourishing wisdom tradition.

My hope is that we are all able to slow down and sink into ourselves. May you feel the Indwelling of Truth, the Temple of Beauty within you. May you have the courage to act on what you hear.