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.

Our last post was on day 13, the Yesod in Gevurah. On day 14, we concluded the second full week of counting and on day 15 moved on to the first day of the third week, the week of Tiferet. So today, we find ourselves entering into the fifth day of the week of Tiferet.
The word Tiferet means something like "beauty," but in the Kabbalistic system it has the significance of "balance" or "harmony."
But there is another dimension of Tiferet. We spoke earlier about how the different Kabbalistic spheres are mapped onto the human body. Looking at that diagram, we see that Tiferet is mapped onto the heart. Thus, the position of Tiferet in the human body, so to speak, encompasses balance because it is on the midline, literally, of the human form. But it also encompasses openness from its position at the heart.
Hod is "beauty." So what do we make of the "Beauty in Harmony?"
Rabbi Yakov Haber suggests that God made nature not only "efficient," but beautiful. And we human beings are blessed with the capacity to appreciate that beauty.
While we understand the optical phenomena that account for the colors in a gorgeous sunset, the interaction of light, atmosphere and dust particles does not "explain" the magnificence of the display, and its power to move us.
While we know how insects are attracted to blossoms, and how their feeding on the nectar also serves the pollination process, this knowledge does not "explain" our sheer gratitude for the beauty of that flower.
Why this flower?
Why anything?
And why is it that being in nature seems to restore our sense of Tiferet/Balance?
Let me also throw in here that in the realm of mitzvot, sacred Jewish acts, we encounter the idea of hiddur mitzvah, the "beautification of a sacred act."
Yes, any glass can be used for a kiddush cup, but use the most beautiful (to you!) cup you can find. Honor God and please yourself, too!
Think of something that you routinely do that you could do more beautifully, today.
Please keep posting!
It’s good to be back,
Rabbi Steve Folberg
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