Blog Archives

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 36

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 six, which is five weeks and one day of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve sesh she hem hamisha shavuot ve yom ehad laOmer.

Today is Khesed be Yesod, kindness within sexuality, grace within intimacy

It doesn’t matter if a relationship is 30 years (happy birthday, Nisi) or a one night stand, it is still crucial for it to be kind. When a relationship is first built, it is occasionally built on wild nights of love and abandon, on gorgeous bodies touching each other in celebration, on kisses and caresses and sexual exploration of one another. Even there, it is important that those wild nights and celebration include kindness and love. After years and years, it is even more important. It is not only just as important as love, but after the new relationship energy fades, it is the foundation of that love.

And kindness means letting go of mistakes, accepting differences, thinking about the other first – all the things that ‘shouldn’t’ matter in a relationship. A relationship should be easy and flow, right? Wrong. A relationship is still work, it is still thinking and pausing before speaking and forgiving and apologizing – messy, hard work.

But so worth it. Because kindness leads to closeness, leads to sharing, leads to intimacy.

Today, I put in the work to be as kind as I can in our relationships.

Omer Count – Day 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

Do you have a person? Do you have someone who will love you when you fail (again) and understand your lapses and take care of you when you’re ill? Someone who won’t BS you that everything is fine but will tell you that everything will work out if that’s what you need to hear? The one who knows what you cannot do and will sometimes make up the lack, allowing you to achieve that much more? The one who listens when you babble and who will talk to you about interesting concepts? Who will enjoy your crazy activities even if it means hiking through muddy fields and who will invite you to theirs even if it means dancing to metal music? Because there is nothing more important in the world than that person. That person could be your partner, a friend, a parent, a grown child or sibling, anyone who is routinely there.

Sometimes, the young people I know say the things to me that baffle me like “but I’m not attracted to her!” “Being in a relationship is too much work.” “He’s so needy!” “Why do I have to do all the…” “I refuse to do emotional work for someone” and on and on. Now sometimes, the person they’re with is an abusive creep and the things they say are bang on.In that case, drop him or her as fast as possible, run far and away in the other direction and do whatever it takes to get rid of the problem. Often, however, the person is simply a sweet, socially awkward, unfinished young adult – much like themselves. By searching for that perfect someone they lose out on all the perfectly good someones out there.

So I think that having and keeping a person – that’s key. It is an essential part of my ability to function with the strength I need in this world

Today, I find strength in family and community.

Omer Count – Day 1

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 first day of the Omer!

Today is the day of love within love, kindness within kindness.

I remember why we do what we do. We’re trying to do God’s will – be that write a blog post, mark a paper, fight in a battle or avoid one. The challenge is knowing what God’s will is – and I think today gives some insight. It is love within love and kindness within kindness that the Omer starts with. Clearly, God thinks it’s an important thing, love. God must set some store by kindness or it wouldn’t be first on the list. So, I think it’s pretty clear that God needs – among all the strength and might, the conquest and dominion, the intimacy and beauty that is to come – God needs us to care. And if we do God’s will? Our path is smoother. There are answers that weren’t there before. We see ways through hitherto impenetrable jungles.

Today, I will use kindness and love to show me the way. Even if it makes no sense to do so – I will try to be kind because that is God’s will.

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 ve shmone she hem shisha shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

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

Today, I realize that having family around makes me work harder, makes me try harder and makes me care more. In fact, that’s what I do it for – for my family, for the people I love and want to spend time with and and care about. That’s what gets me up in the morning, doing the things I need to do. I am noble not on my own, but in the context of a member of my family – my community. Today, I recognise that nobility is something we create through the bonds we share and the connections we make. Today, I affirm the basic meaning underlying my faith. God is love. The love we have inside of our connections is exactly what makes us more Godly – more noble.

Today, I understand that all of these traits – nobility, love, kindness, victory, and on, and on – they are all aspects of God. I access the love I have within me, and share it, thus increasing my closeness to God and so, my nobility.

Omer 20

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 which is two weeks and six days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim she hem shtey shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Yesod be Tiferet, connection within beauty, intimacy within grace.

How can I connect to those around me? One way is through loveliness. Now, I am not always lovely – but the more I see myself as beautiful, the more I work to look and sound and feel full of grace and beauty, the more likely it is that I’ll be someone desireable for others to connect to. Today, I focus on ways I can embody the beauty of this world, whether that is through my appearance, or through my actions and words, and the kindness and closeness I embody and the harmony and grace I exhibit. When I do so, connections and intimacy simply happen, as is their nature.

Today, I project the beauty in my world and I embody it to build connection.

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 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.

Today, I thank the difficult people. It’s Hod be Khesed after all, and a bit of challenge is good for us. So, today, I thank the person who cut in front of me in line, and the lady who criticized the way I was doing something and the guy who yelled at me when I bumped into him, and every student who decided not to hand something in (“because I was at an *important* place in my video game, miss! I couldn’t stop!”) and all the other wonderful people who drive me bonkers. I am grateful to them for reminding me about kindness, and how that’s my responsibility no matter what, for teaching me patience or perseverance, for engaging with me in some fashion. These are all good things.

Today, I am grateful for challenges in kindness. I can grow as a person and be kinder if I practice gratitude.

Omer 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, truth within love.

To me, someone kind is beautiful. If their lips are smiling, if their eyes are sparkly, if I can see they care for me – they are beautiful. I am very much a “reciprocity” sort of person. I think of a mirror reflecting. If people care for me I find it much easier to care for them than not. If people are kind, I would like to be kind back. I try my best to initiate but admit that I’m much better at responding. This makes some people hard to see as beautiful, and so, harder to be kind to. If people don’t care about me, don’t think much of me, and would rather I went away, if people act in distant or harsh ways, I can’t be as loving. I have a harder time expressing truth within love – I can be kind, but it’s a much emptier more polite, more stilted kindness. I have to actually do the mental work of finding their beauty so that I can see them as God meant them to be and then – and only then – can I express love towards them.

Today, may I find the true beauty within others so that kindness towards them comes with ease.