hazzan Diana Brewer was ordained through the aleph ordination program. she leads prayer services regularly at the jewish community of amherst, and is on the staff of the davvenen leadership training institute.

Day 9 גבורה דבגבורה

Gevurah SheBeGevurah. Strength within Strength. Discipline within Discipline. Strength within Discipline. Discipline within Strength. Restraint within Strength. Discipline within Restraint. Restraint within Discipline. Need I go on?

I was curious to see what kind of nuance I could find in today's attribute. It sounds a little one-dimensional at first flush. Gevurah within Gevurah. But, of course, to just start playing mix and match with the some of the different layers of meaning found within that one word - Gevurah - reveals worlds within worlds!

I would also like to refer again today to Rabbi Yael Levy's Omer page for this one. She brought out something that I found deeply intriguing and enlightening. First she reminds us that even the strongest of the strong are simply a channel for the strength of the Source of All Strength. She then goes on to ask us to challenge our own sense of what is right. Here is what she says:

"Reflect on something you believe to be true. Feel the rightness, the truth of this idea, this thought. Then say to yourself: I could be wrong. Sit with the sensations that arise."

To me, her exposition of Gevurah within Gevurah speaks of true humility. In my experience, it has been true again and again that I get the most strength by admitting my weakness, thus allowing G8d's strength to flow through me. This takes discipline and restraint of a high order. It requires rigorous honesty, willingness to let go of my ideas of what may be right or feel good, and the willingness to get out of the way to let G8d do the heavy lifting. A tall order!

I find that the humility that is involved in essence of this day (as I see it at this moment), is encapsulated beautifully in one of my favorite prayers of all time:

G8d, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

Having traveled a mighty distance from my first assessment of the seeming redundancy of this day, I am in awe of the depths I have the privilege to explore.

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

For a couple of different Omer counting guides try mishkan.org or chabad.org.

Day 10 תפרת שבגבורה

Day 8 חסד שבגברה