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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 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 14

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 fourteen which is two weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom arba-es’re she hem shtey shavuot laOmer.

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

Oh, no, I don’t think so. I don’t feel strong or majestic. I feel old and worn paper-thin. I feel crumpled. I feel done like dinner. And still, I am trying to do the next thing because the next thing needs to be done. It may not be very majestic but that’s about all I have, strength wise. I’m going to keep trying to do all the little things I need to get done between today and tomorrow, be that prep or marking, writing or organization. I am going to prioritise doing daily tasks because those are the ones that can so easily get lost (I hope one day I can actually have a habit of getting things done. It will keep stuff like this from happening, maybe.)

How is this majestic? Where is the nobility? I don’t know – maybe kings and queens get tired and worn out and sit there with bleary eyes trying to read one more report on the state of the country’s budget and another set of opinion pols. Maybe it’s not the godliness of majesty within strength that I should look at – maybe it’s the humanity. Because no matter how tired they are, kings and queens have to keep going. They can’t say “I think I won’t be king or queen tomorrow.” Be they good rulers or bad, capable or otherwise, they still have to be there the next day.

I can’t project majesty and win in the whole acting nobly thing – but I can do the next task whatever that may be. That’s the kind of “nobility” I can manage – I will be there the next day.

Today, I reach deep into my reserves of strength, and I do just one more right thing – and one more. That has some nobility to it after all.

 

Omer 7

 

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 seven which is one week of the Omer. Hayom yom shev’I she hem shavua ehad laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Khesed, majesty within love, dignity within kindness

Oh, I’m tired today. And sad and lonely. Some days, I just can’t. But I have to. I have to be polite to people and do the next thing and make the world a better place. I have dependents and responsibilities. It’s hard to be kind – to not snap, to not come up with that amazing mega-sarcastic comeback, to not lash out. My mind plays the blame game a lot. It’s hard not to succumb to self-pity, and proclaim that the world stinks and there’s nothing I can do about it. But if I succumb, that’s selfish, and countless spiritual people have helped me to see that I shouldn’t indulge selfishness. That would be true majesty – to be kind and loving despite feeling like crap.

Today, I pray that my kindness comes from within, no matter what I am feeling.

Omer – Day 49

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheynu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu al s’firat haOmer.

Blessed be the Eternal God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy through Mitzvot and has commanded us to count the Omer.

Hayom yom arbaim ve tesha laOmer, shehem shiva shavuot laOmer.

Today is day forty nine of the Omer, which is seven weeks of the Omer.

malkhut be malkhut: majesty within majesty; rule within rule; glory within glory

Oh goodness, we made it! I wrote a post for forty nine days – not always on the day, but I did! And if you’ve read them all, on the day or days later or even after Shavuot, you did it! Congratulate yourself. Also, say “I did it!” in the comments so I can celebrate with you.

Today, I am happy to be me. There are many things I don’t have that I want and there are many ways in which I was more like other people, but these are things that I can let go of today. The commandment not to envy is put last, where people put important stuff. It seems like such a small commandment compared to not hurting or telling the truth. So, today, I realise that being comfortable in myself lets me keep all the other commandments. I can focus on God without worrying about other people and worship God rather than things or people. I can appreciate what God gives me, which makes me way less likely to take God’s name in vain, or to resent my folks for what they gave me by way of things or abilities. If I’m cool with who I am and what I’ve got, I have no need to steal from other or hurt them, to lie to them or about them, to cheat them or cheat on them. If I’m not envying stuff then I’m more likely to feel good about resting on Shabbat. See – it’s all connected.

So, today, I can feel the majesty within majesty of being OK with me. Because it’s pretty majestic! I’m made in God’s image and I can do a ton of stuff and there are moments – however brief – when I do the right thing. For instance, I just – for one more year – counted the Omer with you. That’s glory in glory enough for anyone.

 

 

 

Omer – Day 48

Barukh ata Adonay, Eloheynu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu al s’firat haOmer.

Blessed be the Eternal God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy through Mitzvot and has commanded us to count the Omer.

Hayom yom arbaim ve shmone laOmer, shehem shisha shavuot ve shisha yammim laOmer.

Today is day forty eight of the Omer, which is six weeks and six days of the Omer.

yesod be malkhut: intimacy within majesty; relationship within dominion

More importantly, it’s Friday! Thank God it’s Friday! I am so tired today, that I legitimately put my lunch on the photo copier and stared at it waiting for it to heat up. It didn’t but the other teachers gave me some weird looks. There’s a day of rest coming up. Now, mind, I don’t take the day of rest to the extent some people do – occasionally I have to work on Saturdays. But still – Friday night is special and I tread it as such – no work, ever, and family time and singing and love and quiet and all the things that recharge and re-energise and set one up to do it all again.

God gave the Jewish people such a gift when we got the Sabbath. It’s like a wedding gift – many places in the bible there is talk about an intimate relationship between people and God. On Shabbat, that intimate relationship is felt and celebrated. When we talk about the Sabbath queen, we acknowledge the glory and majesty of Shabbat. When we pray “satisfy us with your goodness and bring us joy in your redemption and purify our hearts to serve you…”, we acknowledge the relationship. Shabbat is good.

Today, I sing in the joy that is Shabbat!