Posts Tagged Omer

Day 26 Counting the Omer 2013 Hod she b’Netzach

Splendor within Endurance

Hod can be conceptualized as the ’splendor of variety’. As such, it points us toward examining details, appreciating the subtleties that differentiate two almost identical things. I am reminded of how farmers understand the microclimates of their fields, how wine connoisseurs can taste a wine and know it’s ‘terroir’ (the special characteristics of geography, geology and climate of a certain place which are expressed in it’s agricultural products). When we delight in the details of variety, we can’t be bored. When we value diversity, we are more inclined to explore, examine, appreciate and accept new experiences, new people, new tastes. Increasing tolerance leads to increasing endurance; we persist in our endeavors when they are more interesting to us!

May the day bring the kind of diversity that leads to ’staying power’!

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Day 25 Counting the Omer 2013 Netzach she b’Netzach

Endurance within Endurance

That steady ‘keepin’ going’ energy that helped the Boston authorities capture the fugitive, that helped tired hospital workers who could not leave the hospital work and work and work, that allowed parents with energetic children stay in their homes all day, that…that…that.  We can all appreciate how Netzach helped Boston…but more, how Netzach energy is necessary for all our daily tasks….heroic or not, and how it accumulates as we move through the challenges of our lives.

Shabbat shalom.


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Day 23 Counting the Omer 2013 Gevurah she b’Netzach

Discernment within Endurance

Sounds rather abstract, “discernment within endurance”, but it’s really a quality most of us use daily and value highly. We pay attention today on the ability to focus on something as a way to help us accomplish whatever it is we are trying to do. Accomplishing anything, from baking a cake to writing a Ph.D. thesis, from sweeping the floor to teaching a child how to ride a bicycle, requires the quality of focused attention directed toward a goal. Today, let’s think of some larger issues as well that could us that kind of energy: seeking a new approach toward peace in the Middle East, finding the source of the bombs in Boston, enacting some sane gun control, just for a few examples. If nothing else, let’s direct our prayers in those directions today!

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Day 20 Counting the Omer Yesod she b’Tiferet

Foundation within Harmony

Looking for stability after days of computer, blog, website glitches. Need the steadiness to be the basis of harmony and balance….sometimes the theme of the Omer counting is so well aligned with life!

Today we focus on the relationship between creative energy/generative energy and the beautiful balance that can be created with it, through it. We become supple, flexibly responsive to whatever comes our way.

The intervening days without Omer postings are now part of our collective past! Here’s hoping that the electronic gremlins behave themselves now!!!

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Day 16 Counting of the Omer Gevurah she b’Tiferet

Discernment within Harmony

Discernment in Gevurah is based on knowing the underlying structures and disciplines upon which to make good judgments. The term ‘halacha’, Jewish law, comes from the Hebrew root “h”"l”"ch” which refers to walking, or ‘the way’. Halacha is the structure which guides decisions and allows people to live together in harmony.

In Navajo tradition, harmony is the natural, balanced state of the world. If a person is ill or if there is trouble in the community, something is assumed to be out of balance. A structured ritual ceremony known as the Blessing Way is performed to restore harmony. Gevurah provides the order that facilitates the return to the natural order of balance, harmony and beauty.

We focus today on the importance of regular practice, of developing structure in our lives which contributes to enjoying a balanced life.

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Day 14 Counting the Omer 2013 Malchut/Shechina she b’Gevurah

Indwelling Presence within Discernment

This pair of themes conveys the fact that Holy Presence is always close to us in all our decisions, judgments and actions. All we have to do is remember! When we remember that we always have loving protection, deep insight and thoughtful guidance available, our lives can be enriched.

We are reminded today that guidelines and rules are not the same. The wise ruler and respectful leader sets up boundaries within which a number of correct decisions are possible….these are guidelines. Rules, are the other hand, are binary: either you break the rule or follow it. Today we recognize the presence of the Holy One within some religious rules (Do not murder, for example) as well as in religious guidelines (Rejoice on the festival–without specific instructions!, for example).

As we conclude the week of Gevurah, we recall the usefulness of proper discernment in all aspects of our lives.

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Day 13 Counting the Omer 2013 Yesod she b’Gevurah

Foundation within Discernment

The Mishnah states: “Al shlosha devarim ha’olam omed: al haTorah, v’al haAvodah v’al Gmilut Chasadim” The world stands upon three things: Torah, service/devotion/prayer and good deeds. These form the foundation which guides our actions, today and every day. Life goals and our family/community structures rely on foundational principles, principles which guide by letting us know appropriate boundaries. Today we focus on how our spiritual paths rely on a strong foundation in text, tradition, experience, teaching, guidance, and culture.

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Day 12 Counting of the Omer 2013 Hod she b’Gevurah

Splendor within Discernment

Holocaust Remembrance Day

As we remember the splendor that has been lost along with those millions of lives, the knowledge and memories gone with those who perished, we commit ourselves to fighting injustice and prejudice.  Prejudice is built on overgeneralization, the opposite of true discerning.  One way to describe Hod is as splendid diversity — certainly it was a splendid diversity of children, women and men who died in the Holocaust.  As we remember them today, we are grateful for their lives, their legacies and their leadership.

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Day 11 of Counting the Omer 2013 Netzach she b’Gevurah

Endurance within Discernment

Endurance, persistence, perseverance…all ways to describe continuing effort. When we overcome obstacles by applying stamina, whether physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual, we become more strong (strength being another description of Gevurah!). Think of how the quiet, constant flow of a river wears down stones, or goes around them and still gets downstream. Just as stones are not barriers to water applied over time, the barriers we seem to encounter in life can be gently eroded. Building up strength slowly, as every person in physical therapy, rehabilitation or an exercise program knows, is most effective. As Day 11 coincides with Shabbat this year, we celebrate the spiritual stamina that has kept us, as a people, strong over thousands of years.

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Day 10 Counting the Omer 2013 Tiferet she b’Gevurah

Harmony within Discernment

Without harmonizing influence, even the most well intentioned discernment can become a source of prejudice and intolerance. Harmony and balance provide stability — think of the music of harmony and balance of dance — together they support the kind of spiritual equilibrium that facilitates wise choices, the actions of Gevurah.

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