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 21 מחכות שבתפרת

Malchut SheBeTiferet. Sovereignty, Nobility, Dignity within Balance, Beauty, Harmony.

I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to say that most of us have had mistaken beliefs about what it means to create harmony. It can be easy to go down the path of conformity, compliance, re-making ourselves in another's image, or the image we imagine someone has of us, in the name of creating harmony, keeping the peace. 

Since I am a singer, I'm going to invite you into the world of creating vocal harmony for an analogy. Since childhood, I've had a particular interest in "Early Music", music of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. I came by it honestly as the daughter of two Early Music professionals. As a young singer, I developed an idea of a certain type of voice that I thought was desirable, ideal for this type of music. I tried to cultivate a rather thin, small sound, akin to the sound of a boy soprano. As I developed as a singer, it became increasingly clear that the voice I have is neither thin nor small. This was, at various times, exciting and terrifying. 

I've also always had a particular interest in chamber music. For a singer this looks like singing in small ensembles, each singer singing her own part, just like a string quartet. Certainly, I thought, in order to create the proper blend of sound, I should try and make my voice as non-descript as possible, try and fit into the sounds of the others' voices in the ensemble. It started to become clear that when I did this, the group sound suffered. This was revealed especially clearly during the years I spent singing with a wonderful group called Tapestry. Founded by my graduate voice teacher and two of her other former students, this is a group with four strong voices, each about as different from the other as it is possible to be. When I finally really got the message that the result was best when I sang in the fullness of all the colors of my adult female voice, that's when blend, Harmony, and Balance really kicked into high gear.

There is an aspect of Malchut, Sovereignty, which is the state of being completely at ease with oneself. When I fall for the trap of thinking I need to be any other person than the person I truly am, there is not really harmony within a relationship. There may seem to be at first, but eventually resentment will develop. I will feel stifled. The other person will get frustrated. I will have no Sovereignty. No Dignity. I will not really understand what another person needs, as I will always be trying to impose what I think is needed in order to allay my fear about the state of the harmony of the relationship.

In Malchut, in which we are aware of the Diving Indwelling within us, we are keenly attuned to the real need present in another, even as we are completely secure within ourselves. I am me. You are you. G8d reveals G8d's self to Moshe: "Ehyeh asher Ehyeh." I will be what I will be. I am that which I am becoming.  A true sovereign.  

The analogy of how this plays out in the world of singing seems particularly apt in light of the aspect of Malchut that has to do with expression and communication. When I can be fully myself, I can be at ease with how others express themselves. When I express my true self, others feel confident in my presence. I am strong and secure. Others know they can come to me in safety and rely upon me. When I emanate dignity, others can feel at ease. There is harmony, and the door to free communication and expression is open. I can give and receive guidance, and I can appropriately perceive need and offer of myself accordingly. My offering is not about what I want to give or what I think another needs, but rather tends to an actual need at hand.  

Today we can ask ourselves: Am I singing with the fullness of all the colors of my voice? 

Shabbat Shalom. 

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

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

Day 22 חסד שבנצח

Day 20 יסוד שבתפרת