Today is the seventh day of the Omer, which is one week. שכינה שבחסד, Shekhinah ShebeChesed, Eternal Presence of Covenantal Love.
The Tree of Life
The Sephirot are often depicted as a tree. You can see the roots in heaven, in the worlds beyond this world at the top, while the roots in this world are at the body of the Sephirot tree, in the tenth Sephira, Shekhinah / Malchut, Eternal Presence, Indwelling of the Divine, Sovereignty of the Divine.
Grace: the Indwelling Presence of God’s Love
That part of God that is always present. Always nurturing you. The part you can suckle from whenever you need honey from the crag.
Often, the indwelling presence of God’s love is described as grace. That overflowing, overwhelming, deeply felt connection with the Divine.
Where is God during this pandemic?
And yet, I know that it is quite difficult for people to connect with God’s grace during this pandemic. How in the world can you feel God’s presence in the midst of the most awful thing that has ever happened in most of our lifetimes? A threat that cannot be stopped at the present time. That is not coming for us because of who we are or what we believe. How can I claim to understand the Ground of Being when I am afraid to walk out my front door?
The Power of Shared Experience
I cannot predict the future. I do not know when it will be safe to live as we used to live, to hug freely and with complete abandon. To touch one another, dance with one another, laugh with one another, sing with one another, cry with one another. I think about my last day providing chaplaincy care at a hospital. I sat close to a patient’s family member in the chapel, witnessing her healing prayer. I know how important the human touch is. How impossible it is to simulate being in the same room with people. I know the pulsing energy of multiple people moving in the same direction, spiritually and emotionally, together, in the same physical space.
And yet, I also know how powerfully connected we can be by shared cultural experiences, even when we have them separately. All of us realizing the power of black super heroes. All of us processing the social distancing orders of a new virus that we have no immunity from. And perhaps, many of us flexing our spiritual muscles, strengthening our resistance to fear and riding the waves of uncertainty rather than drowning.
What I mean now is: choose a vision of yourself and the world that brings you meaning. Choose to live towards that vision every day. Allow yourself the opportunity to swim in the pools of meaning that exist everywhere, throughout all spaces and times. L’olam va’ed.
So yes, I swim in the never-ending knowledge of God’s grace. Covenantal Love does not require a Man with a Beard in the Sky taking care of the world. The sephirot are the emanations of the Divine that can be (partially) understood by mortals. We are the only ones who can save ourselves. That doesn’t mean we are the only things that exist.