Omer Day 24

(May 3) Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day twenty-four which is three weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve arba she hem shlosha shavuot ve shlosha yammim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Netzakh, beauty within power, grace within victory.

It’s not very graceful, working like this! I am always working and frankly, if anything, it’s a bit *dis*graceful. There is always so much to do. But the moment when it all comes together, and it’s beautiful and fine and I can enjoy it? That is grace. And you know what else is grace? That I’m writing this. Finishing the Omer counts seems totally impossible (I’m on task 11 of the 22 that *must* be done by tomorrow) but I won’t give up. As far as I’m concerned, not giving us is the grace within beauty that I can find in the day. I will do as many of these as I can today, and who knows? It may happen that I actually finish the omer count one more year, however wonky my counting is.

Today, I refuse to give up. That’s my beauty and my power.

Omer Day 17

Today is Tiferet be Tiferet, beauty within beauty, grace within grace.

You know what’s beautiful? People are! Students looking curious and impressed, friends looking hopeful and optimistic, principals looking friendly and supported. It doesn’t matter if they’re in their best clothes or if their eyelashes are properly curled. It doesn’t matter if they are attractive or homely, what matters is – well, God. Each person has a little bit of heaven in their eyes. If you can see that tiny glint of heaven shining through – then, without even trying, you see them as beautiful.

Today, I look for the beauty within each person.

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day seventeen which is two weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom sheva-es’re she hem shtey shavuot ve shlosha yammim laOmer.

Omer Day 5

Today is Hod be Khesed, gratitude within love, awareness within kindness.

The funny thing about this situation is how much there is to be grateful for. I am not sick nor is anyone in my immediate family. I am surrounded by kind people who help me with anything I lack. I have plenty to do and a way to make an income. I am in a lovely apartment that can truly feel cozy and homey. I have someone to spend time with. I live in a time with internet. It’s spring and there are lots of beautiful flowers growing in the soil and making me a garden. I have abilities that I can enjoy using. So, the first way I can be kind today, is remember how much I’ve been given, and think of ways to pass these gifts on.

Today, I look for ways I can be kind to others in appreciation of kindnesses done for me.

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day five of the Omer. Hayom yom hamishi laOmer.

Omer Day 11

Today is Netzakh be Gevura, victory within strength, conquest within might.

Ok, so video games come to mind. I enjoy playing Word Blitz. I’d love to win it! Against everyone – especially this one person who is so much better than me it isn’t funny. I know I should play against her more often but it’s a bit embarrassing how bad I am. More importantly, they’re pointless, these games. Really. I have a lot to do and the computer games do nothing to get all that stuff done. So, I guess the real victory within strength is managing how often I play them. I am not always successful at that. Sometimes, I just play as much as I want, ignoring everything else I have to do. But sometimes I keep the limits I set myself. Now, that’s victory!

Today, I win when I follow my own rules around distractions.

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day eleven which is one week and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom ahad-es’re she hem shavua ehad ve arbaa yamim laOmer.

Omer Day 4

Today is Netzakh be Khesed, conquest within love, victory within kindness.

I’m teaching again. It’s different, but no less busy and once again there are people (fairly young people, at that), relying on me to provide a way for them to succeed. I am always so nervous when I teach. What if I can’t master the unfamiliar methods used in this subject, this approach? What if these kids don’t like me? Mostly my nervousness is unfounded and teaching is terrific. I have bad days, of course, where my worst fears are justified, and some kid throws her desk out the window. Nevertheless, I love teaching. I truly do. But it doesn’t change how scary I find the first day, especially with unfamiliar kids in unfamiliar circumstances. I do it, though. I go out there and I do it. That’s victory within love, if you ask me.

Today, I will keep teaching new kids, with all the love I have, even though I am scared, and that’s a victory.

Omer Day 10

Today is Tiferet be Gevura, beauty within strength, glory within might.

I am finding poetry beautiful. It was just a random line that stuck in my head that first day and I wrote it down and it all went downhill from there. Now, I find myself writing poems. What’s with that? And not only writing them, but committed to doing so daily for the next 7 years! It’s a ridiculous task with a ridiculous timeline but hey, even if I don’t outlast Tractate Shabbat, that’s already something. And sometimes, well, they’re my poems so I shouldn’t say this about them, but sometimes – I find them beautiful. The way the words flow, one into the other, the way the story is condensed from a page of arguments into one succinct point – or expanded from a single catchy line into ideas and stories.

Today, I write a poem. It is a strength I have, and I, at least, find beauty within it.

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day ten which is one week and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom eser she hem shavua ehad vey shlosha yamim laOmer.

Omer Day 3

Today is Tiferet be Khesed, beauty within kindness, grace within love.

Spring – this is always a day I think about spring. Today, if one does anything one should plant. We put some seeds into some egg cartons – not perfect but hey, seeds, right? I think there’s something so hopeful about planting seeds. It’s also a kindness – a kindness to our future selves and to others who might enjoy the results of what now are tiny little seeds. And of course, there’s a lot of beauty in plants. I myself totally love the outdoors, and plants more than anything. I can’t wait to get back to hiking once this shelter in place stuff is done. I know, for better or for worse, that I will keep trying to enjoy the beauty, to enjoy the kindness of growing things.

Today, I plant something. It puts beauty into being kind.

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day three of the Omer. Hayom yom shlishi laOmer.

Omer Day 9

Today is Gevura be Gevura, strength within strength, might within might.

Today I talk about speed. I am slow, and lately, I’ve been moving even slower. I’ve been working on habits, building them agonizingly slowly, one habit at a time, easing my way into each new habit with very little tiny moves, acknowledging set-backs, starting over, changing directions and trying again. It’s been slower than can be imagined. It’s been the opposite of success for months. I still don’t know if I’m succeeding! But I think I am. I am building strength within strength – using what is already mine, a slow and deliberate approach – and adding layer upon layer of strength. This is the way limestone is build, and I know it isn’t as strong as some rocks, but ti’s still stone, still pretty powerful.

Today, I build positive ways slowly and incrementally, adding habit to habit to find strength within strength.

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day nine which is one week and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom tesha she hem shavua ehad vey shtey yamim laOmer.

Omer Day 8

Today is Khesed be Gevurah, kindness within strength, grace within might.

Today, I start preparing for courses. There’s a lot to learn as I teach unfamiliar topics in an unfamiliar setting to unfamiliar kids. I research the best way to deliver information, I look for ways to make it fun…will I still hold them? Will I still keep the kids focused on the words I say, the activities I come up with, the classwork and homework I assign? Will I be able to be close to them over a screen (because I always end up caring for them?) How can I make this course interesting? Inviting? I search for how I can be kind to those who depend on me to teach them. It’s going to be a challenge which needs me to be my best – my strongest self.

Today, I reach for kindness within strength as I prepare for a new teaching term.

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day eight which is one week and one day of the Omer. Hayom yom shmone she hem shavua ehad vey om ehad laOmer.

Omer Day 2

Today is Gevura be Khesed, strength within love, might within kindness.

And in the time of the Covid-19 plague, today belongs to physicians and nurses, hospital staff and all those who must be strong within love. I will go my whole life never having to say, “you know, a ventilator would be very hard on your poor elderly mother and perhaps it would be better if you took time to say your goodbyes.” That’s good, because frankly, I’m not sure I’d have the strength to do so. The strength to see horrible things happening, to realize that these things could well be happening to you sooner than later, to know that there’s so little you can do to fix any of these horrible things – but to try anyway with everything in one’s command – now, that’s strength. I respect every healthcare worker who keeps going through this time, because they have the strength in kindness that’s needed right now.

Today, I respect those that offer strength within love right now. Wow!

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonay our God, ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

Today is day two of the Omer. Hayom yom sheni laOmer.