Category Archives: Omer

Omer Count – Day 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 three of the Omer. Hayom yom shlishi laOmer.

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

I need to be kind to myself. I pushed myself pretty hard to complete these Omer posts – and this is the last of 49 mini-essays, ranging from a paragraph to a page, that I have written in the last 49 days. I am sleepy and my room is a mess and I’m a bit behind on the marking. (Only a bit – I’m not that bad at putting kids first.) I am grateful to God, to myself, and to all the people who put up with me being less than all there while I did these counts. Sometimes, I don’t know why I write them. It just seems like the right thing to do.

And it’s beautiful. It’s amazingly beautiful. I know this seems self-serving and prideful, but I don’t care. Given how busy I was, given that I hadn’t done it for a bunch of days – the fact that I caught up and did them all? That’s lovely.

But now I need to place that beauty into a context of kindness. I need to work to repay all the kindness shown to me while I’ve been writing these, and I need to be kind to myself – to once again take on my exercise routine and to catch up on sleep and the dishes.

Beauty within kindness – where I accomplish the goals I have in the context of maintaining myself and my health – that’s my goal for the next two months. (At which point I try to complete the Elul blog and it all goes to hell in a handbasket once again.

Today, I celebrate the beauty of 49 Omer posts nicely written. I remember to be kind to myself when I do this in the future.

Omer Count – Day 4

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 four of the Omer. Hayom yom revyi laOmer.

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

So, someone promised you a gift. At least, you’re pretty sure they promised you a gift. A bracelet, say, that would signify the depth of your relationship, one that is special and beautiful and important not just in itself, but in the meanings that every aspect of it carries. The two of you have known each other for a long time, you have a lot of shared memories and a lot of future plans together. You’ve talked about this bracelet a lot and you helped pick it out. You made sure it was gold because that’s worth more and you have a mild allergy to silver, you know the meaning of each gemstone in the bracelet – this one for strength and that one for celebration and this other one because it’s a birth stone. You know why it’s important and with your special day (birthday? Valentines day? New Year’s Eve?) coming up, you are ready to receive the gift.

That’s when they tell you that they’re hoping you’ll help them wrap that bracelet, in time for that special day, because it’s for So & so who is very special to them. It’s lucky they have such a good friend as you, because you helped pick the perfect gift and isn’t it good that you picked gold because did you know, So & so is allergic to silver! Your heart breaks.

Victory in kindness is when, very very slowly, you smile, say “sure” and proceed to beautifully wrap that bracelet.

Today, I hope to meet misunderstandings with grace. I win when I am kind despite disappointment.

Omer Count – Day 5

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.

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

Kids are super strong and mega-resilient. They are also deeply and profoundly fragile. Today, I remember a day long ago when I got something from a kid. I wasn’t very good at saying thank you, and it was a poorly made piece of crumpled paper in the shape of a bird with badly stuck on bits. There were lots of other crumpled pieces of paper stuck to various surfaces, and the morkers were everywhere and marker marks were on lots of things that weren’t for drawing on at all, never mind with marker. I said something akin to “what on Earth have you been doing?! This is a disaster And what is that thing?” The kid walked away in tears. It turns out that she had worked on this creation a very long time and was quite proud of her artistic skills and had been thinking happily of the look of joy and love on my face as she handed this thing to me.

Kids don’t remember stuff like that (I hope) so I doubt she remembers the day. I remember it though – and I remember it as the day when I wasn’t as kind or thoughtful as I should have been. Maybe I was tired? I was often tired. Potentially, but it is not a good excuse. It wasn’t the kid’s job to get past my tiredness, it was mine. I did apologize after, but I regretted the missed opportunity. It helps me to remember that kindness is key, and that I can express true heartfelt gratitude for the kid’s project just because she had made it for me.

Today, may I be kind enough to be grateful for the gifts people give me, even if they are not what I want at first.

Omer Count – Day 2

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

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

So, yes, I should have written this a long time ago, but I didn’t and it’s mother’s day. But how appropriate is that! Strength within love is pretty much right there under mother in the dictionary. Today is the day I remember that both about my mother and my parents – who is extremely loving and very strong – and about me and my coparents too. Every parent has that moment, the one when they have a fever and a migraine and they’re lying in bed hoping the emergency throw-up bowl is not too far away, when someone begins screaming at them that they gave them the red cup and they really wanted the blue cup and would the parent fix that? All parents remember (with just a slight shudder) that somehow they pulled it together and managed to stand up, bleary eyed, and found that blue cup or (even harder, trust me) pulled their scattered brains together to give an excellent impromptu life lesson on the importance of thinking about others and the difference between glitches and problems.

Parents are never tired – not when doing the 3 am feeding or helping to complete the 3 am projects, nor when taking 2 bouncy kids for a day at work because it’s bring your kid to work day (or it isn’t but the school has PD and the care arrangements fell through and I still have those emergency pencil crayons somewhere right?) Parents always have the emergency pencil crayons, cleenex, bandaids, hairpins, baby wipes and blank paper in their ridiculously overstuffed purse-bag-things. Parents say “I did nothing today” when they spent the day cooking, cleaning, looking after a bunch of kids, shopping, taking people to appointments and slipping in a few loads of laundry and dishes when no one (seemingly) was looking. Parents feel guilty when they’re working because they should be at home with the kids, and when they’re hanging out with the kids because there’s so much to do.

Parents are incredible. And kind. And who knows how they pull it off. I’ve been faking parenthood for almost 24 years and I sure don’t know!

Today, I.am amazed by the strength and kindness of people with children. Wow.

Omer Post – Day 49

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 nine, which is seven weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim ve tesha she hem shiva shavuot laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Malkhut, majesty within majesty, presence within presence.

I feel tired and a bit useless today. Sometimes, I try and I try – and at the end, I feel as if I’d never needed to have bothered. I am never sure if anyone reads these posts. I know that mostly, the kids wish they didn’t have to do any math and this term has been a “let’s make it happen” battle. With family – the kids are growing up there too, and sometimes, I’m not sure that what I’m providing is the best and strongest support I can. Again, I make an effort, but for every 2 steps forward, there is definitely one back. As for personal growth, definitely some head bashing against wall there. More than once, I’ve started to make a difference and it’s gone nowhere fast – a small thing derailed me and then I didn’t even feel like trying any longer. So has anything I’ve done been worthwhile at all?

I have to fight to remember the positives – the young people at school who are going to better programs in university (or university at all) because of the skills I gave them, both in mathematics and otherwise. The occasional sweet note from someone who proved that the posts are being read – and sometimes that holds the answer to my questions right there. I liked this quote from Cliff Lilliman who tells me that I am OK at family some of the time.

“God burst forth in creative joy, knew it to the end and saw it was good. Then ‘I Am’ left us in ignorance so we chould discover this reality for ourselves.”

Good reminder, Cliff. I have to remember that if God has a plan and it’s a good plan. If I haven’t succeeded, I can at least learn valuable lessons about what not to do. I just have to show up, and keep showing up and it’s that which makes the omer so significant. Each day I’ve counted the Omer, I’ve shown up. Every day I’ve shown up, I brought myself closer to where God expects me to be – in my home, in my family, leading a life I’m supposed to lead. That’s pretty much what bein noble means to me: being aware that God has a plan and that I can keep following it.

Today, I keep showing up. I keep doing the do things. I do them with awareness and I know – that this is where nobility lies.

Omer Count – Day 48

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 eight, which is six weeks and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim ve shmone she hem shisha shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Malkhut, intimacy within nobility, family within presence.

Today, our old kitty died. She was very old, and had stopped functioning well, and it was her time. She died quietly, at her home and the children had a sweet goodbye funeral for her. It was the 2nd such that I had been a part of and to me, a really important part of what it means to be family and community. Sometimes, that means saying ‘hello’ to those who are special in our lives, to welcoming them and honouring their presence and appreciating them as part of our family. And sometimes, it means saying goodbye and thanking them for their contribution and for their participation in our family, and recognizing that they’ve moved on and we’ll miss them. And this is true for both cats and people.

Today, I.say goodbye to Nyrah who was a noble cat and an important member of the family

Omer Count – Day 47

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 seven, which is six weeks and five days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim ve sheva she hem shisha shavuot ve hamisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Hod be Malkhut, gratitude within majesty, humility within nobility.

Today is a day where I say thank you for who I am. Today I recognize my place in the world, neither grander nor less than anyone. As I recognize myself I realize how many wonderful things I can do. It’s interesting – when I don’t think about it, when I just sort of do what I need to do as a piece of the puzzle, with gratitude and humility (when that means knowing one’s place) then I can see where I fit and the world makes more sense. It’s like one of those dot pictures that have a hidden image, where the more you stare at it, the less it shows. When I over-focus, worry at the world like at a thread sticking out of my jacket and try to force the world, I can’t figure out why everything is so weird and awful and nothing works. When I approach with humility and gratitude, I see that the world is magical, and I a noble member of an august society.

Today, I stop worrying at the world – I don’t need it to unravel. I approach it with gratitude and humility and let myself perceive God’s plan. That plan has majesty and I a noble role.

Omer Count – Day 6

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 six of the Omer. Hayom yom shishi laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Khesed, transfer within love, foundation within generosity.

I looked up Yesod today, and it looks like there’s an association to foundation, to balance – but also to movement. It’s the engine room of the Kaballa. So, how can I be someone who uses that foundation and that movement to be generous. Frankly, engines – busyness, transitions, movement – they’re rarely my thing. I prefer the foundation side of yesod, the binding and connecting, the gathering and interweaving aspects. I’m not fast, and I don’t like change.

But in the context of kindness, when it’s for those around me, my engine can ignite. I can act with determination, decision and flexibility, getting done rapidly what otherwise seemed impossible. Suddenly, I’m ‘on’! True, I pay a price, in that I’m sometimes really tired once the people leave. True, it would be better if I could find a balance and be able to act for myself with the same ease I can act for others. Nevertheless, today, I will count it as a strength.

Today, I can connect, drive, act, build – be the foundation – through kindness.

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.