Omer

Day 49, June 3: The Malkhut in Malkhut

Here we are, the final day of the Omer!

First, I want to thank all of you who have participated in omerblog these past seven weeks! I have loved reading your comments and feel very grateful to be part of such a thoughtful, insightful and committed community. And to those of you who have read the blog but not posted, I really do hope that you, as well, have found this experience to be enriching and rewarding.
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Day 48, June 2: The Yesod in Malkhut

Okay: this 48th day of the Omer also happens to be my (Gregorian calendar) wedding anniversary. Happy

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Day 47, June 1: The Hod in Malkhut

For the 47th day of the Omer, we examine the Hod in Malkhut. For this, I want to return to Gavriel Goldfeder’s interesting reading of Hod as being related to hoda’ah (gratitude/modesty/humility) and Malchut as sovereignty/majesty. blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Day 46, May 31: The Netzach in Malkhut

Years ago, I performed a wedding for a remarkable, young couple. Out of respect for their privacy, I will leave out any overtly identifiable elements to their story. But I will say that in many respects, their wedding day reminded me of the reality of Netzach: not only in the sense of Persistence/Endurance in which we've been using it here, but also in the sense of its related, Hebrew word, nitzachon, or "victory."
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Day 45, May 30: The Tiferet in Malkhut

A day to revisit, one last time, the Inner Balance which is Tiferet.

How do we encounter Inner Balance and Harmony in the world that is manifested to us?
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Day 44, May 29: The Gevurah in Malkhut

The 44th day of the Omer once again brings us back to our old friend, Gevurah/Restraint/Discernment. What is the discernment/restraint in Presence?

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Day 43, May 28: The Hesed in Malkhut

Malchut//Shechinah, the Sefirah-basis of this final week (!) of the Counting of the Omer, is Indwelling Presence, the Presence that can be known and sensed by us on this earth, in this life.

This day of Lovingkindness in Presence suggests that we may experience God as a loving, accompanying Helper.
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Day 42, May 27: The Malkhut in Yesod

In the kabbalistic system, another understanding of Malchut, majesty/sovereignty, is its flip side, Shechinah, the feminine, indwelling presence of God.

Once, years ago in Torah Study at Congregation Beth Israel, I asked the attendees that morning how many of them had ever experienced a sense of the Divine Presence. Many hands went up. I then asked how many had experienced this in a synagogue setting, and most of the hands lowered back down! (Quite a bucket of ice water in the face for any rabbi.)

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Day 41, May 26: The Yesod in Yesod

Somehow, I always get a kick out of these "The X in X" days! What is the Foundation in Foundation? What is the "Yesodiest" quality there is?
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Day 40, May 25: The Hod in Yesod

Jewish tradition provides a blessing for nearly every human experience. There are birkot ha-nehenin, blessings of enjoyment, for occasions when we partake of the delights of the senses. There are birkot mitzvah, for when we perform a sacred, Jewish act, such as lighting Shabbat candles. And there are birkot hoda'ah, for expressing gratitude for our blessings.

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Day 39, May 24: The Netzach in Yesod

Day 39 of the Omer today (Shabbat)... hard to believe that in 11 days we'll be at Shavu'ot itself.

Our language and psyches often embrace the pervasive metaphor of life as a journey. We dip into the metaphor so often that we don't even realize it; it is embedded in so many common expressions: "I'm at a crossroads." "I've reached a milestone." "I don't know which way to turn." "I'm off the beaten path." "It's time for a course correction."

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Day 38, May 23: The Tiferet in Yesod

One of the great joys of Jewish religious life and culture is having the opportunity to study texts together. It’s not just an academic learning experience or an intellectual exercise. It is also an act of worship/reverence and a deeply authentic community-building experience. Studying our texts links us to each other, to divinity, and to Jews of generations past, who puzzled over the same texts as those we explore today.
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Day 37, May 22: The Gevurah in Yesod

It seems that new books on the spiritual meanings of counting the Omer are coming out these days at a pretty healthy clip. My own library currently contains no fewer than eight of them! Each author takes a different approach, understanding the combinations in differing ways. I’m finding it interesting to compare the different approaches.

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Day 36, May 21: The Hesed in Yesod

As we embark upon the week of Yesod, we might do well to learn more about what this Sefirah is about. After all, Lovingkindness, Sovereignty/Majesty, Splendor, Endurance/Eternity and so on, are all abstractions, but they are easy to understand through concrete examples. But "foundation?" What's that supposed to mean? Winking
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Day 35, May 20: The Malkhut in Hod

Day 35, five weeks into the Omer and counting... the Malkhut in Hod.

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Day 34, May 19: The Yesod in Hod

Rabbi Yacov Haber has an interesting take on today'a combination of Sefirot, Foundation (Yesod) in Beauty (Hod).


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Day 33, May 18: The Hod in Hod

Another "double Sefirah" for Day 33: the Hod in Hod. We'll get to this in a moment, but first...

Traditional Jews observe a number of semi-mourning customs during most of the counting of the Omer: no haircuts or trimming of beards, no weddings or other parties, no music. This is said to commemorate a number of tragic events (pogroms and massacres) that occurred throughout history on these days. Hence, the semi-mourning practices.
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Day 32, May 17: The Netzach in Hod

A few years ago, here in Austin, I saw a piece of advertising for a local yoga studio that was so unintentionally funny that it made me chuckle out loud. Underneath a photo of a rather “buffed up” individual in a spandex yoga outfit, the caption read, “I've made faster progress in my yoga practice at GruntNSweat Yoga than I ever did at my old yoga studio!" As if the fastest possible "progress" - rather than learning to pay attention, in each moment, to one’s body - were the point of yoga!

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Day 31, May 16: The Tiferet in Hod

Our combination of Sefirot today, on this 31st day of counting, is the Tiferet in Hod, the inner balance in beauty/multiplicity. How might we understand this?

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Day 30, May 15: The Gevurah in Hod

Someone once told me that the essence of childhood and adolescence is a sense of endless possibility. Life seems like a smorgasbord of infinite choices without constraint. As we mature, we gain a sense of limits: the limitations of time, energy, and even (or perhaps especially) the limits of our own physicality and mortality. We learn (perhaps with a mixture of sadness and relief) that our choices are sometimes mutually exclusive, that in many instances making one choice precludes another. We choose a life partner to the exclusion of others. We choose to live in a particular city, and we accept its strengths and limitations. We learn, as a revered seminary teacher of mine, Rabbi Jerome Malino of blessed memory, used to like to say, that "every situation includes the advantages of its deficiencies and the deficiencies of its advantages."

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Day 29, May 14: The Hesed in Hod

We now turn our attention to another one of the Sefirot: Hod. Again, in trying to interpret today's combination of Sefirot, we come up against not only the difficulty of translating the terminology, but also of trying to tease out the subtleties of the Kabbalistic system.
On its most basic level, Hod is “beauty.” Rabbi Jacobson understands it to be “humility,” based upon the idea that Hod looks as if it comes from the same Hebrew root stem as "hoda'ah," gratitude. Although I'm certainly no expert in the Kabbalistic system, this reading seems to me to be a bit of a stretch, or perhaps, more charitably, a midrash. Happy

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Day 28, May 13: The Malkhut in Netzach

Amazing: this is the last day of Netzach’s week - Day 28 of the Omer. Today we contemplate and seek to embody the Malkhut in Netzach.

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Day 27, May 12 The Yesod in Netzach

What is the "The Foundation in Endurance?"

We have already explored this week of the Omer how inner balance (Tiferet) and lovingkindness (Hesed) might play their role in endurance/eternity. What about Foundation (Yesod)?

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Day 26, May 11: The Hod in Netzach

Here we are, 3 weeks and 5 days into the counting of the Omer.

What is the Hod in Netzach? What might we mean by "The Beauty In Eternity?"

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Day 25, May 10: The Netzach in Netzach

Trying to wrap my brain around what the Netzach in Netzach -- the Endurance in Endurance, or perhaps, "the Eternity in Eternity" might mean, reminds of a thought that popped into my head back when I worked on the Long Island suburbs, 20 + years ago.blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Day 24, May 9: The Tiferet in Netzach

One of the factors that makes the interpretation of the qualities of each day of the Omer so interesting and rich is that each of the Sefirot, taken on its own, has a range of meanings. So, as the rabbis of the Talmudic period liked to say, ‘al achat kama v’chamah, how much the more so, are there even greater interpretive possibilities when we are dealing with pairs of Sefirot!

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Day 23, May 8: The Gevurah in Netzach

Hello, Everyone,
First of all, I wanted to tell you about a cool, little, technical feature of the "Disqus" blog commenting system that omerblog uses.
When you respond to someone else's post, you can set things up so that the person to whom you have responded will receive an e-mail notifying them of that fact. It's pretty easy to do.
Just type an “@” followed immediately by the person's username. (You can tell that you did it correctly because it will highlight in gray.) That's all there is to it. And once you have actually put up your post, you and others can click on the person's highlighted name and a pop-up window will appear showing you all of their activities on omerblog. Pretty spiffy, don't you think? Happy
Now, on to weightier matters…

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Day 22, May 7: The Hesed in Netzach

It is difficult to believe, once again, that we are entering a new week of the Omer count this evening of May 6th - Week 4!blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Day 21, May 6: The Malkhut in Tiferet

So here we are: standing on the threshold of the last day of Omer Week 3 - the 21st day, Malkhut in Tiferet.blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Day 20, May 5: The Yesod in Tiferet

Referring to the diagram, you'll see that, taking the "Yesod in Tiferet" as endpoints of a line, this combination of Sefirot defines the midline of the body, from the pelvis/genitals to the heart.

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Day 19, May 4: The Hod in Tiferet

Tomorrow, May 4, 2014, will be the 19th day of the Counting of the Omer. But before we get to talking about the themes for the day, let's spend a moment catching up with some of the things that we missed while I was away.

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I'm Back!

Everyone,
Well, it's Saturday night, May 3, 2014, and I am back in Austin after spending just shy of four days at the first in a series of three Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training retreats sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Actually, the Retreat isn't over until tomorrow, but I needed to get back to Austin for Shabbat so I left before the crack of dawn Friday morning. Read More...
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Day 13, April 28: The Yesod in Gevurah

Yesod literally means "Foundation." It is also associated with sexuality. And Gevurah, in some readings of the Sefirot, is associated with discernment (not a far cry from how we’ve been reading it until now: restraint).
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Day 12, April 27: The Hod in Gevurah

First of all, Shavu’a Tov! I hope you had a good Shabbat!
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Day 11, April 26: The Netzach in Gevurah

Sometimes, I will be talking to the parent of a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah student who is struggling to maintain his or her spirits over the long haul of learning all of the Hebrew necessary to lead the service and read from the Torah and Haftarah on the Shabbat morning of their celebration. blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Day 10, April 25: The Tiferet in Gevurah

I enjoy having a smart phone, but sometimes I think it is incredibly enslaving! I'm talking about "the tyranny of over-connectedness" and the constant interruption and distraction that our availability to others – via text, email, Facebook and so forth – has created. And yet…blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Day 9, April 24: The Gevurah in Gevurah

First, I want to sincerely thank all of you who have been participating in omerblog up to this point. This project has turned out to be much more of a gift to me, personally, than I ever would have imagined. It's especially provided an opportunity for me to learn so much more about the practices that we have been discussing here. Also, my apologies for this post being a bit late!
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Day 8, April 23: The Hesed in Gevurah

Today we reach a milestone in our counting of the Omer. For one thing, we shift from moving through the inner qualities of Hesed, to moving through the inner qualities of Gevurah.

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Day 7, April 22: The Malkut in Hesed

Malchut literally means “kingship” or “majesty,” from the Hebrew root mem-lamed-khaf. It thus denotes power or ability. And so we stand on the threshold of the 7th day of counting: Malkhut she’b’Hesed. So how is power wedded to loving kindness?

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Day 6, April 21: The Yesod in Hesed

Yesod is the "lowest" of the Sefirot, that is to say, the most earthly and closest to us. Arthur Green understands it as "the foundation, including sexual energy." Rabbi Simon Jacobson (Lubavitch) understands it to mean "bonding."
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Day 5, April 20: The Hod in Hesed

I stumbled upon a very interesting web site while putting this web site together...


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Day 4, April 19: The Netzach in Hesed

Today we contemplate the endurance of love over time...

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Day 3, April 18: The Tiferet in Hesed

How do you know when to push? How do you know when to "let go and let God," as the 12-Step Traditions teach?blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Day 2 Addendum: New Resources!

New Web Site Resources Posted!

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Day 2, April 17: The Gevurah in Hesed

On day 2 of the counting of the Omer, we consider the "Gevurah" aspect of Hesed. What does this mean?
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Day 1, April 16: The Hesed In Hesed

Omer Day 1: The Hesed In Hesed - April 16 - Cultivating pure, expansive loving kindness.blogEntryTopper Read More...
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Can you count to "1040"?

It’s not always easy being Jewish in the world of The Professions. Read More...
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