Category Archives: Omer

Omer 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 v’teysha she hem shiv’a shavuot laOmer. It’s the last day. I hope you enjoyed being part of my counting

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

It was an awesome Shavuot! Truly amazing! Can you believe that three young adults aged 19, 21, and 21 shlepped from Montreal and Toronto just to stay up all night and study? And a bunch of people from the community? We went into depths with Ruth (some of that stuff is weird) and we read bits of Narnia and we discussed the nature of God and we sang Hallel and we ate tasty foods and it was perfect in every way. That was what I want for Shavuot – study and joy, love and connection. This is what true majesty is – was I a queen? I sure felt like one! The people in my life felt loyal, the surroundings felt opulent, the food was certainly fit for a queen. I felt like “what did I do to deserve this? Nothing! I’ve just been there.” And that is Malkhut be Malkhut – the majesty of presense, the nobility of just being there.

On Shavuot, I recognize that sometimes, just being there is enough.

Omer 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 v’shmone she hem shisha shavuot ve shisha yamim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Malkhut, relationship within majesty, sexuality within nobility

The thing about working at a high school is how much information you get. So and so went out with that guy who only likes her for her body, and the things he said to her! Meanwhile such and such is no longer talking to this other person because of what she said to him before he told that girl that…Now, these two are not dating and they’ve been not dating for 2 years and they’ll probably not date for the rest of high school. These other two on the other hand are dating but one of them is clear that he’s only with the other one because she helps with homework.

I tell them, “people, are you sure you want everyone knowing all this stuff? Really?” Sometimes, those old fashioned rules are useful. When to say, “hi” and to whom. Go out for coffee 3 times and then go to the restaurant. And above all, do NOT let your teachers and every kid in your 50-student high school know all the details of your romantic lives.

It seems formal and stilted and Victorian to talk about rules as far as relationships go. Is there room for actual emotion in all that show? I think there not only is, but that it’s stronger and better if those rules are respected and followed. So much that we do depends on custom and tradition, ritual and rules. And it brings a bit of a respectability to what is otherwise a messy and random situation.

Good rules can create stronger relationships – and good relationships create nobility. It is beautiful to see a true romance, and it can elevate a person to being a queen or a king. We’ve heard that someone is a queen in her partner’s eyes or the sovereign of the home – and it makes sense.

My bigger kids are coming to visit today – and it will be wonderful. I will feel richer than any billionaire and more honoured than any ruler. Within my family, I love my role.

Today, we use rules to strengthen our relationships and relationships to highlight our roles.

Omer 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 v’sheva she hem shisha shavuot ve hamisha yamim laOmer.

Today is Hod be Malkhut, gratitude within majesty, acceptance within presence

Today, I am grateful for the kings and queens – the leaders of our world. I don’t mean polititians – I mean the successful people who are good at something and who just get things done, the ones that plan properly and act when the time is right. You know those people, right? The one who was in the giften program, the arts-based program and the athletics program all at the same time, and volunteered, took care of an ill family member, had an active social life and STILL was a genuinely nice human being? The one who finished the dissertation early, while regularly participating in marathons, the CN tower climb and Habitat for Humanity? The one who successfully manages the four small children and the job and still holds weekly dinner parties? You know that person! They are our leaders. And I am grateful for them.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t always like them! They are annoying. First, they tell me what to do, and often – how to do it. Sure, they’re often right but that doesn’t make it less annoying – if anything more! Then they notice and correct my mistakes. Even if they’re nice enough to say nothing, they still show me up just by existing. I’m doing the best I can, true, but their best is better. Also, they have that look – that half pity, half amazement that someone so slow could exist, half irritation at having to deal with it, half self-righteous satisfaction that they’re right and I’m wrong. (I am well aware there are a few too many halfs. Now you’re nagging me about grammar too?)

But I am still grateful for them. They step up. They make dreams into a reality and they make the reality a better one. They encourage and support me and goad me to higher achievement, greater excellence and more long-term satisfaction. They make a difference and ensure I have or at least have access to the things I need – and the things I desire. So, annoying as they are, I am grateful.

Today, I am grateful for the leaders in this world. I strive to be more like them so that someday, someone else can list me in the category of annoying but inspirational and useful.

Omer 46

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

Today is Netzakh be Malkhut, victory within majesty, conquest within presense.

There are kings and queens whose vicotries we read about in history books. There’s the conquest of country x by ruler y, and sometimes that’s a good thing and the ruler becomes a great emperor and helps the countries run be stronger and sometimes it’s a disaster and the ruler beomes known through history as a ravager and a despot and we talk for thousands of years about what a baddie that one was. There are also kings and queens we remember for hanging around a very long time. For example, we just celebrated Victoria Day, named after Queen Victoria who hung around a very, very long time. It’s a victory of majesty too – a quieter one, but just as remembered and maybe, in some ways, more important.

There is a teacher I know who has been teaching so long that her worksheets were first made by hand and copied with carbon paper. They have taught children of their former students and have the respect of every member of their community. Now, that – that is a victory.

But it’s not just hanging around a long time that shows victory. Any time persistence is involved, there is a win. Sometimes, the ruler just has to keep governing, even when the country seems in to be in shambles and every one else is yelling and everything seems to be going wrong. Sometimes, the student has to just keep studying, the doctor has to just keep working on the dying patient, the teacher has to just keep teaching, the rabbi has to just keep explaining, the musician playing through the bad notes, the painter painting even though none of them look quite right.

There is a nobility to persistence, and occasionally, despite the predictions of others and the risk factors involved, sometimes, there is a victory.

Today, I keep doing the tasks that I know are important. My victory will come from continuing to try with these tasks. Even if I don’t succeed immediately, the continued attempt is noble.

Omer 45

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 five, which is six weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim v’hamesh she hem shisha shavuot ve shlosha yamim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Malkhut, beauty within majesty, harmony within presence

Today, I’m here. I may not look all that gorgeous in my onesy and my “majesty” may be limited to changing the kitty-litter and doing the dishes, but I am here. Sometime malkhut is just presense – God’s presense in the world, my presense in the family – presense. By being present, I can share in the laughter and the good times – but also in the awkward momenta and the silences. The presence of God adds a great deal to every moment, and so makes each moment more beautiful. The presense of another person in one’s life does the same. In some ways, people mimic. One serene, joyful, loving person makes a room more serene, joyful and loving. One angry resentful hating person makes a room of people more angry, resentful and hating.

Today, simply by being there and by being my best, most loving, most serene self, I can inspire others and make the world more beautiful.

Omer 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 v’arba she hem shisha shavuot ve shtey yamim laOmer.

Today is Gevura be Malkhut, strength within majesty, might within presence

I was talking on the facebooks yesterday, and ran into this bit about executive dysfunction. On “That Spoonie Feel”, a blog, someone wrote:

The more I find myself having to explain executive dysfunction to people the more I realise it’s near impossible. There’s a thing. I wanna do that thing, I really do. But no matter how hard I try to tell my brain to do the thing, it won’t do the thing. I can’t tell you the amount of hours I’ve spent scrolling mindlessly through social media wanting more than anything to stop, but I can’t. This concept is so ridiculously alien to abled/neurotypical people and makes awareness/acceptance for it so hard to achieve. If an abled/nt person wants to, say, have a shower, or get some food, they just up and do it, no second thought. But the amount of mental exhaustion that goes into getting myself to get up and do one of those things can honestly be disabling in itself. It’s not laziness, or not caring. It’s a total mental block between wanting something and doing something about it. I really wish the concept of this was more widely acknowledged. We are not lazy.

So, I thought about it and here was my reply:

“Tell me about it. I actually explain this using a business. Think of the executive function as the boss. I have a terrific brain – my r & d team. My workers, who make the stuff – my arms and legs – quite functional. My sales staff – mouth, ears – very well trained – does their job well too. I have people buying supplies, and stocking shelves. But my admin staff – the foreman who says, “keep working “, the secretary who manages the schedule and says where everything is, the boss who sets priorities and directs staff to tasks – in fact, the executive of the company- is missing. Imagine how well a company would work with no admin: no one to deal with bickering staff or conflicting priorities, no one to schedule anything or make sure that a team doesn’t go off on a tangent, no one to find the flipping replacement light bulbs! That’s what it’s like for me when I want to shower.

The other thing I do is i spell it out in painstaking detail. So, first, I have to decide it’s time to shower. Then, I have to convince myself to put the phone down. Then I have to stand up. I have to make it past 2 bookshelves without picking a book up. Then I leave the room, and remember to close the door quietly. Then I walk to the bathroom, but once there don’t remember why I’m there and return to the bedroom and pick up my phone. Then I repeat all this ten minutes later, and make it to the bathroom at last, only to realize I need a towel and I forgot to bring mine. Back to the bedroom I go!

By then, people are staring at me with a horrified expression on their faces, saying, “stop; please stop!’ ”

For me, strength is making myself get through the morning routine, making myself mark papers, making myself prep materials, and then STILL show up in front of people and lead them too. Strength is never giving up even if it took me 7 attempts just to make it to the shower this morning, because the blog isn’t going to write itself, and neither are the midterm report cards. Strength in leadership is being clear with people that no matter how hard it gets, it’s doable and worth the effort and I know, because I do it every day. Whether it’s with lists or games, sticker charts or points, candy treats or check boxes, I keep looking for ways to inspire myself, direct myself, lead myself and be the executive.

Today, may I have the strength to keep working out ways to be my own leader.

Omer 43

Today is day forty three, which is six weeks and one day of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim v’shalosh she hem shisha shavuot ve yom ehad laOmer.

Today is Khesed be Malkhut, kindness within majesty, grace within nobility

This is the last week of the Omer and today, we might as well look at what Malkhut is trying to tell us because Malkhut in modern day times doesn’t seem to be well understood or appreciated. Most people think of the ruling, bossy, yelly aspect of kings – the telling you what to do, ignoring your needs, never listening, able to impose random punishment kings. The inheritors and perpetuators of the white supremist patriarchy, in fact. It’s how some kids see parents or teachers, too.

So what the heck, ending 49 days of self-analysis and hopefully, self improvement with Malkhut? Shouldn’t it be something useful, like Service, or Kindness, or Joy, or whatever? Why majesty? Because that’s not what is meant by majesty. Here, the ruler in question is God. God has no need to yell, God always pays attention, God isn’t white or male. So, what kind of majesty is this? This is the parent or teacher or leader of any kind that we aspire to. This is the one who inspires rather than bosses, who people follow because that person does things so well that following them makes sense. This is the ruler about whom people would say “I would follow them anywhere.” This is a true leader.

When we listen to a teacher who inspires us to learn more of a subject by his sheer love of it, when we finish a project just so as not to disappoint the manager who has herself put endless hours into it, when we ride into battle following a leader who has always fought on the side of goodness and peace – we are looking at the divinity within a person. When we ourselves are that manager, leader, parent or teacher, we are emulating God. We are practicing Malkhut.

True majesty must, by its very nature, be founded in grace and kindness. Without a deep inner understanding of the other and love of our fellows, we have no chance of leading the way we want to. So, today, we take the extra step, we do the work, we lead with kindness and through inspiration, and we embody Malkhut.

Today, may I inspire others by the kind ways in which I lead.

Omer 42

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 two, which is six weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim v’shtayim she hem shisha shavuot laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Yesod, majesty within intimacy, nobility within sexuality.

Nobility? Eh, it’s not very noble, sex is. It’s sweaty and people have fat rolls and sometimes they make gross noises and as far as I know, it’s about as un-noble as it gets. As for the ‘purer’ love between a kid and a parent, somewhere between changing the diapers and putting up with the temper tantrums, paying for the lost bus pass (again) and explaining that going to the dentist and doing taxes are things that you have to do without reminders from mommy, that love seems less noble and more just tiring too. And yet – yet it is. It is beautiful, because the simple act of loving makes everything shine and look better and sound better and feel easier. That loving can be the rose coloured glasses through which one sees the world and which make everything look better.

Today, I realize that the nobility of love is that it can make even very unappealing moments seem majestic.

Omer 41

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 one, which is five weeks and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim v’ehad she hem hamisha shavuot ve shisha yamim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Yesod, intimacy within intimacy, foundation within community.

Today, I think about building friendships. Sometimes, it’s so easy – the other person says something funny, I laugh, and presto, a connection is made – a friendship is built. Sometimes, it’s a boatload of work – of getting poison thoughts out of my head, of maintaining limits and boundaries even when it feels artificial to ensure there is no power imbalance, of calling even when they’re boring or overemotional or both, of doing favours – and accepting gifts, of little things that make others smile, not laugh. It’s a lot work which I don’t always want to do. But that is where the intimacy within intimacy comes from – doing that work, finding those answers and building those connections.

Today, I build the foundation within the foundation of my relationships – I do the work even when I don’t want to.

Omer 40

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, which is five weeks and five days of the Omer. Hayom yom arbaim she hem hamisha shavuot ve hamisha yamim laOmer.

Today is Hod be Yesod, gratitude within foundation, humility within intimacy.

Today, I am grateful for love. It transforms everything. Really, it is shining bright rainbow colours added to an otherwise bland palette. And the thing about love is that there is no way whatsoever that I can do it by myself. By its nature, Yesod – whether defined as sexuality or intimacy or connection – requires two. So, I have someone else who needs to play in order for Yesod to be successful, someone who I may as well be grateful to. In its meaning of foundation, Yesod confirms that basically, love underlies everything. And today is an excellent day to express gratitude about that foundation, to test it, to see that it remains firm and to enjoy a life built on love.

Today, I am grateful for love. I express that gratitude to those who love me.