Category Archives: Iyar

Omer Count – Day 23

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-three which is three weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve shalosh she hem shlosha shavuot vey shtey yammim laOmer.

Today is Gevurah be Netzakh, strength within power, might within victory.

Today, I feel strong about my accomplishments. I am a good teacher and a loving friend and that’s important. We all have something we can do very well – even if it isn’t everything, we can make a mild difference by focusing on our power. By tapping into what we do best, we get a victory. And not just any victory – we get that ‘ah’ moment, that moment that the universe clicks and your will is in precise concert with God’s and you know that you are doing the exact right thing and of course, that being the case, it’s working. It takes strength to reach for those ‘ah’ moments, to keep engaging in what brings us strength even when other tasks would be better. But it’s a strength worth taking because it feels right and it gives us the daily victories we need.

Today, I do my best at what I’m good at. Using my strength properly is a victory.

Omer Count – Day 24

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.

Actually, power, war, fighting – it’s ugly. I forget that sometimes. I use everything I can to push myself and my students into doing what I need done. I break rules, I push boundaries – whatever it takes. And sometimes it works, and that’s a victory and that’s beautiful. And sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes, you realize that you’ve pushed too hard and broken one rule too many. What do you do then? How do you win while maintaining beauty. I don’t know. Maybe, sometimes, you lose. Maybe you at least retreat, regroup and try again within the rules. Because it’s not enough to win. If you win but everything about you is a ruined disastrous mess, then you haven’t won. You’ve lost. So, I need to win beautifully – and that means winning with respect and care of boundaries.

Today, I take a step back and remember that “all’s fair in love and war” but not all is beautiful. Today, I make the choices that let me win with grace.

Omer Count – Day 25

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-five which is three weeks and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve hamesh she hem shlosha shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Netzakh, power within power, victory within victory.

I am older, slow and clumsy. Messy and disorganized. Some days, I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing, where my paperwork is or how to deal with any of it. So, it feels strange to write about power and victory. That is not the purvey of silly pushy math teachers. That is the purview of brave knights on chargers and … and then I remember graduation.

My grade 12 graduated recently. And I was one of their more memorable teachers – the ones they would recall went above and beyond. I handed kids agendas, provided extra help, cheered them on, argued with them when they were behind, made jokes and otherwise did what I could. And they noticed. Maybe they’ll go on to great victories – to be the leaders, the famous people, the knights on white horses. And maybe they’ll remember two months with a silly pushy math teacher. And when they win, so will I.

Today, I recognize that when I teach with all my heart and soul, I inspire others. That, in an of itself, is a victory at the heart of the victories I inspire.

Omer Count – Day 27

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-seven which is three weeks and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve sheva she hem shlosha shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Netzakh, family within power, intimacy within victory.

Little connections with family – that touch, that hug, that smile, that thumbs up, that unexpected phone call – these are powerful. They create and build connection between people and they can overcome a great deal of negative emotion. They are the secret of success for many people and families. But they don’t happen on their own. They need to be cultivated. Every person in the family has to make an effort to create them because if the connections are only being done by one person in a relationship – they will stop. There needs to be response, both sides initiating sometimes, reciprocity.

It’s hard to remember. There’s bills to pay and dishes to wash. But if one wants that extra strength that a loving family can give, one takes the time to build connections (even small ones) within family.

Today, I remember to build intimacy through small positive exchanges. The relationship we build together will lead me to victory.

Omer Count – Day 26

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-six which is three weeks and five days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve shesh she hem shlosha shavuot ve hamisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Hod be Netzakh, gratitude within power, humility within victory.

When one wins, to be a good winner, one has to be magnanimous. One needs to be kind to the losing side, one needs to be patient with others, and of course, one needs to be grateful. There are so many people to be grateful to, so many supporting actors in our personal dramas. There’s immediate supporting actors who actually had talking roles and stood there by our sides – our family and friends. There’s the hundreds of extras who fill our lives every day – the store clerks and bus drivers, the waiters and the admin assistants. There are thousands of them in every day and they are anything but extra, as their smiles and manners can recreate the world. There’s the crew. Someone made all those things, after all – either someone made the dinner or (if you cooked it) made the pots you cooked the dinner in. And there’s God, the writer/director/producer of this drama together with us.

Some people think: “I did this. This is my victory, my accomplishment. I made this amazing thing happen. If it wasn’t for hours of work – training, preparation, whatever – this wouldn’t have happened. That it did is as a result of all that I did. To ascribe my work to someone else would cheapen the accomplishment. Sure, there are the little people who played a part, but this accomplishment is mine!”

Some people think: “Wow, what good luck! I happen to be at the right place, in the right time and sometimes, good things just happen to people. It’s nothing to do with me, this victory, It’s nothing anyone could have predicted. This is just the way the world worked out. Yay.”

To me, they’re both missing the point. Gratitude doesn’t reduce a victory it enhances it, highlights it and brings it in to visible relief. And denying one’s role in one’s successes completely? That does cheapen the victory, reducing pride, and the inspiting power a success can have. Far better to remember the actor accepting an award and to see one’s victory as a shared endeavour between ourselves, God, and all ot the other people in our lives.

Today, I will be grateful for successes and will remember that my power is mine and God’s, working together.

Omer Count – Day 28

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-eight which is four weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve shmone she hem arba’a shavuot laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Netzakh, majesty within power, nobility within victory

Today my power is the power to listen. I don’t need to tell someone all about my life or give wonderful, expert advise. Sometimes all I need to do is to listen, give someone else a chance to unwind and show support without saying anything at all. Other times, some input is necessary, but even then, the more friendly and non-judgemental the response is, the more likely it is to be listened to and followed. It’s not easy – my brain keeps bringing up judgements – but with practice,  one can just listen. In that way, the victory is over ones own distractability and judgementalism, and those who are noble will succeed in just listening.

Today, I remind myslf to listen more than I talk. In that way, I can show nobility and vicory over myself. That would definitely be a victory.

Omer Count – Day 29

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-nine which is four weeks and one day of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve tesha she hem arba’a shavuot vey om ehad laOmer.

Today is Khesed be Hod, kindness within gratitude, grace within humility

Tone, body language – these are important. They define whether something’s really kind or just kind of sarcastic. This is particularly true when it comes to thank you’s and sorry’s. A fake thank you sounds fake, looks fake and can make a person feel really creappy. It’s actually (in my opinion) dangerous and hurtful. A fake sorry is no better. It can be a repeat or an ‘insult to injury’ of the hurt. It is important that we feel what we say – that we’re not doing it to smooth something over or make it acceptable, that we’re not doing it because someone told us to.

If someone did us a favour and we resent it, our first job is to acknowledge that and deal with it internally before trying to say anything. Then, we can say “thank you” with a full and glad heart. Then the thank you will show as a real one and be kind instead of hurtful.

Today, I make sure I mean what I say. May my thank you’s come from the heart and be kind.

Omer Count – Day 34

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 thirty four, which is four weeks and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve arba she hem arba’a shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Hod, intimacy within gratitude, community within thankfulness

It’s easy to be grateful when a relationship starts – it’s a pretty awesome thing, a new relationship! It’s beautiful. When a relationship ends it’s much harder to remember all the moments one could be grateful for. One might be angry or hurt, one might be sad, disappointed – this is hardly the time to be grateful. Yet, when I think back on my previous relationships, the ones that ended, whether by mutual decision or someone cruely breaking someone else’s heart, I realize that gratitude is essential. It is remember that relationship positively, with thankfulness, that gives it the weight, value and influence that it can have in one’s life. It is by acknowledging the importance of it that one can, perhaps, even build a new friendship with an ex and connect to them on a whole new level.

Gratitude is like a pair of glasses, not rose coloured that sees everything as lovely but properly focused, so that one can see things as they truly are and not how negative emotions make them look.

Today, I look back on everyone I’ve known and broken up with, and I think of them with gratitude.

Omer Count – Day 35

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 thirty five, which is five weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve hamesh she hem hamisha shavuot laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Hod, nobility within gratitude, leadership within humility

So, today, I remember how much I owe to the leaders in my life – my teachers, my parents, my rabbis. Without their example, inspiration, and guidance, I could not have made any of the different accomplishments that I can celebrate today. The skills I have were taught to me, the love I can give was given to me first, and my knowledge rests squarely on the discoveries of others. Now, this is always the case. You never just stand up and do a thin entirely on your own. There are always all the supports and guides. But because it’s always the case, it’s easy to forget.

Today, I thank those who get me to where I am.

Omer Count – Day 44

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 forty four, which is six weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim ve arba she hem shisha shavuot ve shtey yammim laOmer.

Today is Gevura be Malkhut, strength within majesty, might within leadership.

Today is the day I prep for tomorrow. It’s a day of school, and there’s a lot to do – things to mark, things to prep, paperwork and so forth. As I prepare I think about Friday’s wonderful graduation ceremony. My kids graduated. They all stood there and heard and said things about each other and about the future. Milestones and achievements are important. Recognizing them is important. It’s a reminder of the work, the dedication, the challenges overcome, the patience – all that got one to a milestone. Whether it’s a birthday or an anniversary, a graduation or a homecoming, milestones require celebration. They confirm each of us as leaders, as majestic royalty in our own drama and signify the strength we’ve put in.

Today, I.celebrate strength in leadership by noting the special milestones life holds.