Today is twelve days, which is one week and five days of the Omer in the year 5782. הוד שבגבורה, Hod ShebeGevurah, Temple of Strength; splendor within power. Today, the 27th day of Nisan, is also Yom HaZikaron LaShoah v’LaGevurah, the Day to Remember The Shoah and The Heroism, the Catastrophe when one-third of Jews were murdered during World War II.
Choosing Hope, Strength, and Steadfast Support
Life has taken many turns for all of us. No one has had time to fully process the ways in which our lives have changed in the last few years. However we approach the seasons ahead, the fragility of human life is stark and clear.
I choose hope.
I remember El Shaddai, the Source of Strength.
My belief in HaShem is not dependent on prosperity or health. Like Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, God is with me in darkness as in light.
God is my Strength
The Ground of Being is my Strength and my Shield;
my heart trusts in Her.
It is not necessary to believe in God to be Jewish. While I welcome all people into spiritual community, my soul is grounded in the pursuit of HaShem. I cannot tell you I know God. There is no way for me to comprehend the Source of Life. I can say, my faith in God is strong. God is my Rock and my Shield.
Building my Sanctuary for Strength
A core reason I am on the cusp of rabbinic ordination is that I feel most complete in a sanctuary. My best self bursts forward in Jewish community generally and prayer spaces specifically. This is the consciousness I work to live into throughout the day, regardless of where I am.
So today, I will contemplate how I build that sanctuary within me. How I make it possible to feel surrounded by El Shaddai, God of Protection, God of Breasts.
Sometimes, we shy away from strength. We demure and deflect. This is a week to own the power within us and connect to the strength around us. As brave Amazon workers on Staten Island reminded us, the people united can never be defeated.
Similarly, there are many people who have been hurt by organized religion and believe that individual spirituality superior to collective endeavors. Yet, the thing I have learned above all else during this pandemic is that we humans are social animals. We are our best selves in community.
Let’s reinvent our synagogues and develop the spaces we need for our individual and collective spiritual growth. Am Yisrael Chai! The people Israel live!