Today is twenty-two days, which is three weeks and one day of the Omer, in the year 5782. חסד שבנצח, Chesed ShebeNetzach, Covenantal Love within Endurance. My Will to be a conduit of Covenantal Love is eternal.
The Week of Netzach: Eternity, Endurance, Will
נצח, Netzach, is a noun that means eternity. The shoresh, the three letters of the noun are also the Hebrew root for winning. This is a week to begin creating concrete manifestations of our path toward spiritual liberation. After three weeks of heady meditation, now is the time to determine how I want to act in the coming year. How will I create the will to embrace eternity?
I wrote the above paragraph last year. This year, I want to add another layer of reflection: How have I endured the trials of living? How can I honor the strength it took to reach this point?
Within Eternity, Grace Beckons
Within Jewish circles, it can be easy to focus on doubt and lack of belief. It is hard to reconcile how “the chosen people” have been chosen for discrimination, less-than-human status, and death throughout most of recorded history. We have been useful servants of kings, until they coveted all of the wealth procured through our service. And actually, even when elite Jews were court Jews, the vast majority were extremely poor and relied on the communal redistribution system for basic necessities. So, how do you believe in a God that allows the Shoah, the Catastrophe, to annihilate one-third of Jews?
For me, the answer is simple: the Bible is a holy narrative, but not a history book. God’s providence does not create certainty that things will go right for the righteous or wrong for the wayward.
Grace is not about allow God to take the wheel in my life. For me, flowing with Grace allows me to align myself with the ideals that guide my life, the ideals that are reflected in the sefirot specfically, and Jewish mysticism generally. I choose to live into Covenantal Love because it allows me to be a conduit for Love.
Covenantal Love Called Me to Eternity
I could tell you the specific moment when God called me toward the rabbinate. Yet that story is only a half-truth. The reality of my life is this: I am always happiest in Jewish community. My soul sings in Jewish prayer. I come alive most fully through Judaism and I am so blessed to be a part of it.
I find universalism a strange concept. It is really a Christian concept, though perhaps it also exists within Islam. It is definitely a hegemonic concept. Yes, Jewish messianic idealism proclaims that at the end of time all people will acknowledge HaShem and proclaim the oneness of God. But our worldview isn’t focused on that time in the future. And we don’t proselytize. Yet, somehow, our unique relationship with God has become a cudgel, used to denigrate our unique existence.
The reality of “God’s chosen people,” is that we had to believe in a unique reason for being in order to survive centuries of persecution. We need a mission in the world in order to continue living our counter-cultural lives.
I cut the foreskin of my lips.
To be a conduit for Goodness, I hold my tongue.
I circumcise my sons.
They are physically part of a separate people.
With all my words, with all my being,
I choose to be a God Wrestler.
May we find the Light within,
And live into the Path of Righteousness.
Spiral of 22 Days of the Omer…
Image via Pixabay.