Blog Archives

Omer 37

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 seven, which is five weeks and two days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve sheva she hem hamisha shavuot ve shtey yammim laOmer.

Today is Gevura be Yesod, strength within family, might within community

You know, it’s a cliché that the pen is mightier than the sword. But unpacking that cliché one might find that one is comparing the ability of communication to achieve. One might realize that connections – a family working together, a community that knows each other – those are powerful. They allow for successes that weren’t there before and for answers to difficult situations. They allow us to access help when needed and to discover the strengths that we can offer. Communication – written with a pen or typed or what have you – is more powerful because it builds connection than a sword, which can only destroy people, trust, relationships – the connection so built.

Today, we use our strength to build connection, not destroy it. Communication is mightier.

Advertisements

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 yammim  laOmer.

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

Oh, I don’t think so! When the parents are controlling, the kids are disrespectful and the partner is doing things in exactly the way that I don’t like, the last thing I want to do is be grateful. It’s going to have to be some very, very special persuasion that causes me to say thank you – or, hey, anything good – on days like those. I don’t feel like expressing gratitude and so, I don’t. This negative mood and attitude totally shows – and is totally ugly. People respond in kind, and it leads to more controlling parents, disrespectful kids and contrary partner.  This is a feedback look – and those aren’t good things, sometimes leading to disasterin a situation like that.

How can I break this loop? The day has insight. Today, I’m going to have to put my irritation aside. I’m going to need to say “good thing I have kids that complain because some peope are childless and super about it”.  “I’m glad I have controlling, parents because many of the parents of my peers are passing away”, and I’m glad my partner is acting in that irritating manner because it is good to have a partner who cares enough to say something.

Gratitude helps. It helps me refocus on the positive aspects of the situation, helps me to see others in a more positive way, and helps me to act in a more positive manner. This causes others to respond more positively and suddenly I have more reason yet to think of positive thngs they do that Iead to gratitude. Hmmm…that feedback loop seems way more useful!

Today, I remember to be grateful for family. I know it will lead to greater intimacy.

Omer 38

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 eight, which is five weeks and three days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve shmone she hem hamisha shavuot ve shlosha yammim laOmer.

Today is Tiferet be Yesod, beauty within family, truth within intimacy

It’s nice when the little things work out. When you are thinking something and suddenly, your friend says that very thing. When you start a sentence and your friend finishes it. When you want something – and your partner brings it. It’s wonderful to have that connection that goes beyond words and into love. It’s nice and it’s real and it’s beautiful. It takes years of hanging out, of just doing thte next thing, of thinking of each other and truly listening to what the other person says to have it happen. It’s rare – and sometimes huge periods of time happen where it isn’t there or at least I don’t notice it – but it’s totally worth while.

Today, I notice the beauty in the the comfort and fit one can have with true family.

Omer 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.

Family within power, huh? You know when intimacy is possible? When each person is both strong and weak. It’s this weird balance of being strong enough to know your needs and those of your family, know how to care for them and how to make it all work and being weak enough (or maybe it’s another form of strength) to accept the care of others. If that balance Is lost – if someone doesn’t need to be cared for, if someone is unable to give the right kind of care, if someone can’t ask or ask correctly for her needs – then intimacy is lost and caring is impossible. When the balance is there – well that’s truly a victory for family and intimacy.

Today, I win when I care for others and accept their care.

Omer 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, connection within love, family within generosity.

Today I worry about connections. More and more I realize that connection is time, given correctly and lovingly and politely. More and more I realize that I’m not very good at that. I get caught up in my own work, and forget that there are texts to write, emails to reply to, family and friends to call, promises to others to keep, polite invitations for time spent to make, chores to help with, games and books to suggest, and all the other ways I could be connecting. Sometimes the sheer weight of the connections I should be making gets overwhelming. I know that I can do more than I’m doing now – and that this is important.

Today, I try to connect to others, through kindness and consideration. I will prioritise family.

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.

Counting the Omer – 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, connection within love, family within generosity.

Today, I realize I must have done something right. Today, as my children ran their first Passover Seder, and as I looked at all the ways they showed that they had learned from me, I was amazed. They kept many of my traditions and changed those that didn’t fit with ideals that matched the deepest part of what I wanted them to know. They were loving, kind and generous, inviting others into their lives, ensuring that everyone was welcome and happy. They cooked, set up and cleaned up, including others in all the steps of the process. They made ritual, and in so doing, they created magic. They sang songs from the holidays we’d shared, the musicals we’d watched together, the CD’s we’d listened to. They let others, including me, in and welcomed us. I was so proud of them. I am not going to claim any of that – it was all them – but I must have done something right for God to give me that gift.

Today, we build connection within our family and welcome others generously into the warmth and love we thus create.

Elul 14

Remember

What a lovely word, remember – so filled with possibility, and so elulian. (As a blogger, I have the certificate entitling me to make up words whenever I want to.) One can remember all the things that one did wrong and think about correcting them. One can remember that God is watching, and remember the proper way to do things and do t’shuva. One can remember good times that happened throughout the year and celebrate them as the year draws to a close. One can remember to do the mitzvot that one is supposed to do.

But remembering, with that word ‘member’ in the middle, brings people to my mind. Most specifically, I remember my dad. I remember him throwing a bunch of leftover stuff in a pan and mixing it all up, and squeezing ketchup and honey and any other interesting looking sauces he could find, and serving it as dinner. I remember him saying that there was nothing wrong with following one specific idea in depth, or with getting mildly OK at knowing every topic, but that one should make that decision clearly, because one wouldn’t be able to know everything. I remember him saying that some people remember logically, based on what facts would have fit the situation, and their memories don’t change no matter what while others remember emotionally based on how they felt about something and their memories change all the time and dramatically and they’re both wrong. I remember his smile. I remember him singing (and he had a terrific voice.) I remember him sitting with me and making me re-play ‘the bear went over the mountain’ over and over on the piano because I wasn’t doing it right. I remember hating that song for a while. I remember the feel of his strong shoulders, supporting my body, making me feel safe.

I know this is not likely to get me a bunch of likes or followers. Heck, I talked about daddy last Elul, and I suspect I did a better job. Nevertheless, I will talk about him again this Elul. Today, all I have is memories – little bits of this and that which remind me that for better or worse, Daddy is still a member of my community. I miss him. There are many things I’d like to talk to him about, questions I’d like to ask him, advice I wouldn’t mind getting. I’d like him to be reading my blog, commenting on what I write and even telling me that I should consider doing something a bit more productive with my time. However, he’s still there. It’s not that heartbreaking sadness or sense of loss that it was the first year – the loss and heartbreak are still there, and it still hurts, but the hurt is fuzzier now and sweeter.

It is because of daddy’s words that I can remember the things I did wrong and commit to making them better (It’s not a matter of doing your best, Anna – it’s a matter of getting the job done, whatever it takes. ‘I did my best’ is easy to use as an excuse – but if you’re taking care of a child or flying a plane, no one cares. If you do it wrong, someone still gets hurt.) It is because of daddy’s words that I remember that God is watching and I need to do the right thing. (God may exist or God may not, but it doesn’t hurt to act as if he does and expects us to do what we’re supposed to do.) It is because of daddy’s words, however much they bugged me at the time, that I know it’s not enough to just wander through life, I need to give back and do mitzvot that make a difference in my community. (Hold it, don’t hold on to it! You hanging off of what we’re carrying isn’t helping – you need to work to support it and keep it stable.)

Dad was no saint. He was moody, depressive, temperamental, forgetful, strict, and sarcastic. But he was warm and caring, clever and funny, interesting and inventive, loving and strong. Above all, he was good. He did all he could to make people’s lives easier and happier, to help everyone he knew to succeed and find joy, to be there for others. The one thing no one could ever doubt is his goodness. I love him a lot and I miss him always. When someone says to me, ‘remember’, I remember my daddy, and celebrate my luck in having had the time that I did have with him. That is what I remember this Elul.