Thirty-nine days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-nine days, which is five weeks and four days of the Omer. נצח שביסוד, Netzach ShebeYesod, Eternal Bonding.

How do you reflect the depth of your bonds with those you are close with? Do you consider individual relationships forever? Do you have an eternal community?

What keeps you focused on the person you want to be in those relationships? What triggers you, pushing you away from your intended reactions? Do you strain your relationships with the people closest to you when you are stressed?

If you don’t have a community that feels eternal, why? What would characterize a community you would be willing to commit to for the long haul?

May we all have the strength to overcome the person we become in stress. May we have deep, healthy relationships worthy of eternal bonding. And may we reach out to something beyond ourselves worthy of eternal attachment.

This counting was difficult for me to write. I have not been the person I hope to be today. I’ve had a difficult day of ants and final stress, and I felt I had no right to advise anyone on anything. May we all have the courage to metabolize our stress and be a blessing to those around us.

Thirty-eight days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-eight days, which is five weeks and three days of the Omer. תפארת שביסוד, אמת שביסוד, Tiferet ShebeYesod, Emet ShebeYesod, Beauty of Bonding, Truth of Bonding.

Today I had the honor of witnessing the AJU Ziegler Rabbinical School ordination. Ten Rabbis were welcomed into the Jewish community. Their neshamot, their souls, shine bright and they are each a blessing and a light unto the world. Truly, it is an amazing thing to witness people embarking on their journeys, after five or six years of graduate school, into the work they have always meant to do.

What is the truth that binds you to living with meaning? How can you share the beauty of your path with all whom you meet along the way?

The most difficult and important insight I’ve gained from this Omer cycle is my obligation to enter spaces whole-heartedly and reflect the highest version of myself. I am committed to changing my habits, transforming my speech from being rooted in criticism and angst to recognizing the overflowing blessings of my life. 
If you missed today’s ceremony, you can join me on Memorial Day at 2 pm at Stephen S Wise Temple for the ordination and graduation of my colleagues from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California; Rabbis, Cantors, chaplain, and Jewish Studies graduates.

Thirty-seven days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-seven days, which is five weeks and two days of the Omer. גבורה שביסוד, Gevurah ShebeYesod, Discipline / Boundaries of Bonding.

Building community, and developing relationships are sacred tasks. You must hold space for yourself while committing to others. Similarly, you need to allow others space for themselves.

This tension can be particularly difficult for parents to manage. One spouse might need time to decompress from work. The other may feel they are relied on for too much of the familial duties. Or perhaps you share the duties, but are exhausted that you’ve lost a sense of self separate from parent and worker.

Discipline can also mean holding yourself accountable for your thoughts and actions. In times of stress, do you yell? Or do you become passive aggressive? Neither reaction is healthy bonding. Often, we need to be mindful and work diligently to overcome patterns of response we unconsciously developed during childhood.

May you have the strength to reflect on the discipline of your bonding. And may you have the space you need to relax and to grow into yourself.

Thirty-six days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-six days, which is five weeks and one day of the Omer. חסד שביסוד, Chesed ShebeYesed, Grace / Love in Bonding.

Today I had the honor of experiencing Shabbat services led by (soon to be) Rabbi Aviva Shira Funke. Her leadership, presence, and knowledge are gifts to all who know her. I look forward to learning more as she continues to expand people’s access to halachically-rooted, soul-nourishing, life-altering prayer.

I also had the honor of seeing my extended family and marvel at the quicker than expected recovery of my cousin from an almost fatal bicycle / car crash. Jason Brooks has been an inspiration of open-hearted living since we were kids and I’m so grateful we are able to continue this journey together.

In different ways, Aviva and Jason have taught me to embrace full-throated love. They have modeled staying rooted to what you hold most dear: evolving tradition, family, and love. May we all take the time to stop and appreciate the gifts of those around us. May we remember that grace is forever available to guide us towards the person we want to be. And may we commit to bonding our actions with our ideals; our thoughts and feelings with our highest selves.

Thirty-five days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-five days, which is five weeks of the Omer.מלכות שבהוד, שכינה שבהוד. Malchut ShebeHod, Shechinah ShebeHod. Sovereignty/ Indwelling / Presence of Splendor.

Five weeks of delving into how the Divine influences life. Five emanations of holiness piercing the critical armor we use to shield ourselves from one another.

How to feel the presence of Splendor? Ask yourself what transforms you. What forces you out of your ingrained habits? What makes you stop repeating the narrative of pain and desire that shackles you?

I had colleagues over for Shabbat dinner. After the requisite tour of beautiful things my husband made (and dinner), I thought one more recitation of my litany of complaints would heal my brokenness. All it did was spread brokenness to those around me.

We can choose where we focus our energy. Today, let us choose to bask in the Splendor. May prayer lead you towards peace and flourishing. May you find meaning in every moment.

Thirty-four days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-four days, which is four weeks and six days of the Omer. יסוד שבהוד, Yesod ShebeHod, Foundation of Splendor.

Spiritual values are meaningless unless concretized. Do you make time on a daily basis for soul nourishing and spirit expanding activities? What do you do and when do you do it?

My prayer practice has slid since last summer. I’ll give every possible excuse. The fact is I make hours and hours available to Facebook and I put my soul’s nectar on the back burner. Today, I recommit to prioritizes prayer, prioritizing my soul, prioritizing connecting with the Essence of the Universe, the Heart of Knowing.

What concrete activity will you commit to? How does it bring meaning to your life? Does it connect you to your ultimate purpose? Have you found your purpose?

Thirty-three days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-three days, which is four weeks and five days of the Omer. That means it’s Lag B’Omer![1] הוד שבהוד, Hod of Hod, Splendor of Splendor.

In case you’re my mom and wondering how much longer I’ll be writing these posts, counting lasts seven weeks, 49 days. So we’ve got 16 more days.

Hod brings the majesty of Gevurah and the Grace of Chesed and the Beauty / Truth of Tiferet / Emet into this world. It is particularly connected to Prayer, and along with Netzach (Eternal Endurance, Directed Will) forms the pillars of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle we make for the Divine within ourselves.

What is your essential prayer for yourself, the people with whom you interact, the world? Does your prayer connect you to the concealed mystery that is the source of all? Do you have space for awe and reverence in your daily life? How do you maintain your reverence when faced with difficult people or stressful situations?

*[1]Lag B’Omer is a minor Jewish holiday you’ve probably never noticed even if you’re Jewish. Don’t worry, I won’t take your Jew card away. It means 33rd of Omer. The Hebrew letter lamed ל is equivalent to 30, while gimmel ג is three. Together they make 33.

Several things are reported on the day. The most important is that it is a time of celebration when bonfires are lit. We take a break from our somber preparation for Shavuot with this day.

Thirty-two days of the Omer 5778

Today is thirty-two days, which is four weeks and four days of the Omer. נצח שבהוד, Netzach ShebeHod, Eternal Splendor.

Is there something in your life that is purely holy? Something that immediately connects you to goodness, Truth, love, and mystery? Are you able to reach that Eternal Splendor whenever you need it?

It’s a struggle for me. Praying out loud leads me towards Eternal Splendor. Studying a text that pierces my soul can take me to that place. But I struggle to stay connected. I struggle to sleep enough to keep my Yetzer HaRa, inclination towards destructiveness, at bay.

May we all find a source of Eternal Splendor that speaks to us. And may we remember to make time for it.