Forty-nine days of the Omer: Completion, Reflections, Expansion

Tonight begins the forty-ninth day, which is seven weeks of the Omer. It is Shabbat and the day before Shavuot. מלכות שבמלכות, שכינה שבשכינה, Sovereignty of Sovereignty, Indwelling of Divine Presence.

Image by Kohji Asakawa from Pixabay

Reflecting on counting the Omer

I can scarcely believe that this journey is nearing its culmination. Meditating on the Omer brings a mixture of emotion for me. Trepidation veering towards anxiety is my starting position. Eventually, I move into a flow and look forward to my daily count. And then, inevitably, something happens in life to throw me off course.

This year has been particularly interesting because I have been posting my entries for the last two years on this new-in-2019 / 5779 blog. I have often been overwhelmed by the words Past Me wrote and shocked that I expected myself to write anything else on the topic.

Of course, what’s even more surprising is the variety of topics that I manage to cram into a single day of counting. Meeting and embracing the Shadow on Shavuot is a neo-Jungian understanding of revelation that I learned from Rabbi Finley. I don’t think I’ve made the correlation between of The Shadow and Shechinah, the Divine Presence, clear. Shechinah is understood to be the aspect of the Divine Who is in Exile, permanently, alongside Israel. She will only return to the King in the World to Come, at the End of Time. Ideally, it wont take that long for us to embrace our Shadows. And by embracing the Shadow, we make room for the Divine. We acknowledge the gaps in ourselves and meditate into the brokenness, rather than papering over it.

Brokenness: the metaphor that propels this blog

Note: at the time this post was written, the name of my website was broken rabbi. I felt called into acknowleding brokenness explictly in a way that made people extremely uncomfortable. In order to stop this from being a barrier to connection, I renamed my site using my own name.

Core inner brokenness is another idea I learned from Rabbi Finley. I have not begun reading the Kabbalistic texts it is based upon. The Lurianic creation myth speaks about the shattering of the vessels, that the Divine light could not be contained and therefore burst forth from the vessels.

Thus, the tikkun we do within, the repair we do to our own connection to the Divine light, the sephirot, also vibrates into the sephirot and helps them to heal. The core of the metaphor behind the name of this blog is that all human beings are broken, and God was broken in the process of creating non-God. By repairing ourselves, we not only repair the world; we repair the Divine. And that is the mystical understanding of tikkun olam.

The literal translation of tikkun olam is repair the world. And so from this springs forth Jewish social action and Jewish philanthropy. Yet when we peel off these outer layers, all repair must begin within.

Creating a vessel for Divine revelation

These Omer meditations remind me how far it is possible to travel in three years when one consciously chooses a path of depth. My brokenness will remain with me until the day I return to dust. Until then, I shall continue relishing the flow of Divine love. Grace surrounds me and supports me. Truth guides me. Beauty inspires me. And human flourishing makes my soul sing.

May this Shabbat of Shechinah of Shechinah, the Indwelling of the Divine Presence, remind you what you want to hold sovereign in your life. May you allow yourself to be washed clean, born anew to the version of yourself waiting to be actualized. And may you embrace a soul-nourishing community who are able to embrace you as you are today and help you become who you yearn to be. Shabbat shalom.

Previously on this day in the Omer

49 days of the Omer 5778 / 2018: Creating a coherent philosophy that can guide life through the bad as well as the good.

49 days of the Omer 5777 / 2017: Acknowledge the Shadow and the Inner Pharoah to prepare for Revelation.

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