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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 39

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 nine, which is five weeks and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve tesha she hem hamisha shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Yesod, victory within sexuality, conquest within intimacy

The victory we need when it comes to sex is victory against society’s lies. Society tells us bodies are ugly. The only bodies allowed to be seen in public are unrealistic ones that have had certain attributes exaggerated for the sake of sales. Society tells us that our bodies are trying to bring us down because they are fat, or ungainly, or whatever it is that’s wrong with us. Society tells us that the smells our bodies produce are disgusting, and that we need to rid ourselves of them. Most of these messages aren’t said out loud. They’re just there. So, our victory is to recognize them, to fight them, to reject them and to affirm: our bodies are good, beautiful, important and exciting.

Today, I remember that my body is good, beautiful, important and exciting. Appreciating my body is a victory against society’s dictates.

Omer 32

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 two, which is four weeks and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom shloshim ve shtayim she hem arba’a shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Hod, power within gratitude, victory within humility

When I express gratitude, I access power. I talked about this in the Netzakh week, but it bears saying again. And to be grateful, to access this power, I need to know where I am. I need to know that I am not superior to another person, and so I don’t have the right to sneer at their gifts. They might have difficulty in an area or two, but they might be fantastic in others. I need to know that I am not inferior to another person either, and so don’t have the right to expect their gifts. They have their own challenges and frustrations. When I know where I am – on par with others, but with my own strengths and challenges, then I have the power to be grateful, and to appreciate others and to grow. That can be a true victory.

Today, I accept where I am in the world and I’m grateful for gifts given to me.

Omer 28

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-eight which is four weeks of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve shmone she hem arba’a shavuot laOmer.

Today is Malkhut be Netzakh, majesty within power, nobility within victory

Sometimes, I don’t use my power for good. Seriously, I have power, I should always be using it to help others, make the world a better place, to act nobly like God. What happens, though, is I decide I’m powerless. Who do my opinions matter to, anyway? No one. This gives me a curious and somewhat toxic freedom. I can say anything I want because my words don’t really affect anyone, right? Sometimes, wrong. My words, my actions, my carelessness, my acting out of negativity and feelings of low self-worth finds someone’s sensitive place and hurts and does harm. This is not Malkhut, the nobility that God wants us to have. And sometimes, I’m right and they don’t. My words and actions don’t matter at all and people aren’t affected by them one bit. But is that the world I want to be living in? Is that the reality I want to create? One in which what I say doesn’t matter? If I speak or act carelessly from weakness, people will stop treating what I say and do as important. If I want what I say taken seriously, I need to speak with nobility, recognizing that my words and actions have power and acting as such.

Today, I remember I am powerful and so must remember to be noble in my actions.

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.

Our strength comes from each other, and being with each other is a victory. We forget that sometimes. There are papers to fill, and notes to type, phone calls to make, and invoices to pay and so much more. I am busy every day, and tired and don’t care and don’t have time. And so when it’s time to watch a family movie or just sit around drinking coffee or otherwise “waste my time” hanging around with people, I sometimes say that I don’t have time for that. I forget that I am creating strength and power for myself. It is the most important way I can spend time, more crucial than any other.

Today, I win when I take time to be with family. It is the most important way I can spend my time.

Omer 26

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-six which is three weeks and five days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve shesh she hem shlosha shavuot ve hamisha yammim laOmer.

Today is Hod be Netzakh, gratitude within power, thankfulness within capability.

Today, I remember where my powers come from. I am not smart because of any special thing I did, and I am not beautiful and I am not even all that kind because of what I did. I am smart and beautiful and sometimes kind because those are the gifts that God gave me. I try hard to make the best use of these gifts – to use my intelligence well and support it by learning new things, to look my best and take care of myself, to help others as much as I can and to study Torah, which helps me be nicer yet. Sometimes, I think “woo-hoo! I’m fantastic! Look what I have achieved! I have power! I am magic and …” And then I remember (usually, when God has me fall flat on my face as a reminder) that actually, all my gifts are God-given and I don’t control the universe.

Today, I express gratitude for all the gifts that God has given me and try to use my powers for good.

Omer 25

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-five which is three weeks and four days of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve hamesh she hem shlosha shavuot ve arba’a yammim laOmer.

Today is Netzakh be Netzakh, power within power, victory within victory.

What is a victory within a victory? I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I don’t win much. But I do, though. There are many things I win from silly online contests to success at motivating a student, from becoming better at something to simply snuggling through a show. I have hundreds of daily victories. But what is the victory within that victory? Well, if I don’t notice that I’ve won, that’s just sad. I miss out on a perfectly good victory. I undermine it and sour it. This, of course, saps my strength, so I’m less able to complete the next challenge I face. If I can notice and appreciate my victories, I can be that much more successful at future tasks. That is the better choice

Today, I notice, I accept and I appreciate each and every one of my victories, no matter how small they are or how hard they are to see.

Omer 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.

How about the opposite? Have you thought about ugliness within defeat? Because sour grapes is a thing, a thing I do A LOT. There is stuff I can’t have? It was lousy stuff, all of it. I didn’t even want it. I sneer at the accomplishments of others that I could never match and laugh at their successes. Ha, I think to myself, look at what she’s excited about; how pathetic is that? But if truth be told, I could do it. I couldn’t match that task or skill no matter how hard I tried. So, I need to let go of my sneering and start smiling instead. It is beautiful when someone succeeds, when someone wins. Just because it wasn’t me doesn’t mean the beauty of the win is any less. I can, if I let go of my jealous sour-grapes attitude, see that and appreciate the wins others have.

Today, I will not salve my pride with sour grapes thinking. I will see that other peoples’ victories are beautiful.

Omer 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.

I feel a bit as I’ve been dipped in some sort of sticky gunky stuff today, which is causing me to move super slowly and stupidly. But that’s no reason to keep from writing this Omer. That’s my story today. I’m doing stuff despite the fact that I go super slow, that I get almost nothing done, that everything takes way longer than expected and that the distractions are manifold. I keep going, and sometimes, another task gets successfully done. A little task – a single thing that makes me feel better about myself, that makes my space a nicer one, that helps others live happy successful lives. That’s a victory – and the strength I need, the one that brings me that victory, that’s the strength to write one more line; to do one more thing; to take one more step.

Today, I accept that I may be moving slowly towards victory, but I refuse to stop. My strength is to keep going.

Omer 22

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-two which is three weeks and one day of the Omer. Hayom yom esrim ve shtayim she hem shlosha shavuot vey om ehad laOmer.

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

Power isn’t kind. Power imbalances in particular. Some people have skills and abilities that give them power over others – they are smarter or more capable in n area. These imbalances are what can destroy a relationship – or build a broken, abusive one. So, how can one have kindness in power, or love within victory? It’s tricky – because it’s not a matter of doing things for someone else. That can feel like taking over – it can feel very cruel. But we manage to put love into our power when we cook with the kids, letting them mess up the kitchen with their random attempts. When we play cards with our friend who always loses, and I show them how or find a way to not have the game be about winning or losing or play a game I always lose as well, and I manage to do it with enough grace that my friend feels supported rather than dominated, then that’s kindness as well.

Today, I temper my victories by trying to be gracefully supportive, especially in areas where I have strength.