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 18 נצח שבתפרת

Netzach SheBeTiferet. Eternity, Endurance, Expanse within Beauty, Compassion, Heart, Balance.

Today, as a person in recovery, I am particularly struck by the idea of Endurance within Balance. Over 18 years ago, I was given a set of tools and practices to help me through my daily life without having to use. These practices, spiritual in nature, set me on a path of balance, of living a manageable life with clear priorities. I need to keep these tools in place on a daily basis to maintain the balance. There is a high price to pay if I don't.

Once,  many years ago, when I was feeling cranky about having to maintain my practices, it dawned on me with extreme clarity that anyone wishing to live a good life had to work at it. I was not unique. It was a humbling moment, and I haven't really had such moments of crankiness since.

As a result of maintaining my life balancing practices, I am given additional angles of today's Sefirot combo. When I keep up the Endurance of Balance in my life, it opens my heart to seeing the Expanse of Beauty all around. When I take exquisite care of myself each day, I am available to others, and am able to find Endurance, and Expanse within Compassion. 

There are times when Endurance can certainly have the quality of being REALLY HARD WORK. Just this morning, my child was in a terrible mood. It's hard to be compassionate at such times, because most of it gets directed at me. Not fun. Today, having this wonderful kavannah to grab onto, I took many deep breaths, and Endured in Balance, which helped me find compassion. I didn't know at that time that she had had a poor night of sleep until a little later. I'm deeply grateful I made the effort, and it was worth it.

At the risk of being a bit long-winded, I'd like to share another anecdote that highlights today's Sefirot. There are some courses I'm deeply looking forward to as I work towards my ordination as a Hazzan. These are things I've wanted to learn about probably since the age of 12, when I didn't even know these things existed. Because of the ongoing need for Balance in my life, I need to defer these studies anywhere from one to four years from now to make space for some courses that take more immediate priority. This certainly feels like time to be Endured! It feels like Eternity! I know that the rewards of waiting will be great, as I practice Endurance within Balance, making me available to the Expanse within Compassion for those close to me.

Today we can ask ourselves: What are the practices I have that give my life balance? What do I need to do to maintain them day-to-day? Am I willing to Endure, even when it feels hard? Am I willing to trust that it will be well worth the effort?

May you be blessed with an awareness of the Eternity of Beauty around you today!

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

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

Day 19 הוד שבתפרת

Day 17 תפרת שבתפרת