Nineteen days of the Omer 5777

Today is nineteen days, which are two weeks and five days, of the Omer. Hod of Tiferet / Emet / Rachamim. Splendor / Humility in Beauty / Truth / Compassion.

During Shabbat services today, Rabbi Mordecai Finley reminded me that “Tiferet” means “Beauty.” And that I have spent much more time meditating on this sephira as Truth / Beauty than I have about Compassion.

Whatever word you use to describe an emanation is ultimately synonymous with the other words used to describe it. The purest aspect of truth is beauty, pure truth is compassion and completely selfless compassion is truthful beauty.

Similarly, Hod means Splendor. (Humility is Anavah in Hebrew.) Typically, you choose one or two related definitions for a single emanation and focus on that, rather than trying to collapse seemingly opposite ideas, like humility and splendor.

Whenever I think about splendor, my mind immediately imagines sparkles. Perhaps it is the influence of my 3.5 year-old (or of the 3.5 year-old within me). When you strip away your material concerns, when you lift your head from your phone and look around at the physical world, when you close your eyes and imagine existence beyond material reality — are you struck by how elevated that Truth is? That is the Splendor I seek.

I think about the holy splendor of being in the presence of a Torah scroll, of being next to it while it is being read. I think about the holy splendor of thousands of years of Jews reading from the same scroll three times a week, the concentrated and consecrated energy that flows around, from, and toward the Torah — the splendor of deep compassion that allows us to pray for the healing of others, and the souls on the brink of the passage from this world to the next, while the Torah is out among us.

For years I have struggled to understand why prophecy is associated with splendor. I think I have finally meditated my way into understanding that truth. May we all feel the splendor of deep truth, marvel at the splendor of pure beauty, and channel the splendor of selfless compassion.

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