Strength of Eternity: 23 Days of the Omer, Gevurah ShebeNetzach

Today is twenty-three days, which is three weeks and two days of the Omer, in the year 5780. גבורה שבנצח Gevurah ShebeNetzach, Strength of Eternity, Disciplined Endurance.

Whatever happened today, Eternity awaits

When I was in seventh grade, I became super curious why we die. I checked a book out of the library full of philosophical discussions on mortality. The part that I understood concluded that having a finite amount of time provides a reason for existing. 

It seems that the open-ended nature of this pandemic expands its impact on our collective psyche. However good or bad today was, tomorrow is more of the same. Our ability to change our circumstances are quite circumspect. Eternity, ever distant, weighs heavily on us. 

A Shabbat of Eternity

We Jews are fond of citing Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He was a spiritual giant, a poetic writer, and greatly misunderstood and maligned while alive. His book, The Sabbath, speaks about creating a temple in time. By separating ourselves from regular day existence, we provide a respite for the soul and reconnect with the holy essence of the universe. 

I imagine he would be disturbed by the preponderance of digital Shabbat services. So many synagogues vying for attention throughout the week, and especially on Shabbat. Yet, if we are really real with ourselves, we would admit that we are exhausted by being online and having the strength to let go of our digital devices for twenty-five hours might be the most truly soul-expanding thing we could do. 

As I write these thoughts on Shabbat, I admit to you that I am not strong enough to fully let go of this lifeline to the outside world. 

Disciplined Endurance of 24/7 Childcare

I marvel at people who can take care of young children 24/7 while maintaining mindful eating, not drinking alcohol, and not consuming chocolate. Personally, I placed an order for clothes in the next size up. 

This has been a particularly trying day. I pray I have the endurance to focus on the completion of my assignments prior to my class meetings on Sunday and Monday. I definitely did not imagine myself in the role of primary parent without childcare when I signed up for five classes this semester.

May we each feel held by an unending love while we reach towards the discipline to align with the enduring will calling to us. 

Eternity before COVID-19

5779 / 2019: Disciplined Endurance to Accept Who You Are Today.

5778 / 2018: Four books for finding will / changing habits.

5777 / 2017: The source of evil.

Books by and about Rabbi Heschel

                       
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