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 31 תפרת שבהוד

Tiferet SheBeHod. Harmony within Humility. Balance within Wow! Compassion within Splendor. Compassion within Presence. 

Balance, Harmony within Humility. I must admit to feeling oddly stumped by this one, even as I am drawn into it. I think this goes very, very deep, to depths I have yet to fathom. As I contemplate this state, I feel the way one feels when a word, thought, memory is on the tip of the tongue or the edge of the brain (as I like to say). It might be right there at any moment, yet also so far out of reach. Bear with me as we explore together.

To me, true Humility is a state of Balance in itself. In true Humility, I am neither better nor worse than anyone else. I see my various attributes, my raw and refined materials in Balance, and I have acceptance. I don't judge. However, being the mere mortal that I am, that is more the ideal than the reality most of the time. This day is my opportunity to continue to aim for the Balance of true Humility, to be open to that possibility. Perhaps today I get to have a taste of that ideal here and there as I go along. I have the opportunity to have Compassion for myself when I notice my Humility has gone out of Balance, and simply fill myself with the G8d breath that can bring me back.

Compassion within Presence. Each day as I've been walking this Omer journey, there seems to be something that happens that thrusts me into the kavvanah for the day. It's a bit uncanny, really. Today's real life story: My daughter is having a hard week. As I was praying before bed last night, thoughts of her began to trickle in, and I saw so clearly the combination of elements that seem to be adding up to a hair trigger state in her. When I am in a state of prayer, I am at my most Present. As I prayed for her, felt Present with what she is going through this week - her beloved violin teacher was suddenly fired, she had her first day of once-a-week after school time with a caregiver besides me, her competitive gymnastics season is effectively over, and she's decided to not continue with it next year - I was filled with deep Compassion. So much change all at once! I pray that I may bring this Presence and Compassion into my dealings with her and with whomever may cross my path today. 

Balance within Wow! Tiferet is a balancing force. Hod, which I've seen described as a vertical aspect of Creation, and as the energy of a peak experience, is by its very nature out of Balance. Man cannot live on Hod alone! I assure you, I have nothing against a good, healthy dose of Hod, of jaw-dropping Splendor. The question I have to ask myself, though, is: Am I open to receiving Splendor, and enjoying it when it presents itself? Or am I hunting it down? Out of Balance, I am chasing a Hod high. With the Balance of Tiferet, the seat of which is the heart, I am open to the possibility of being moved to Compassion by the Splendor I observe and receive. I am filled with a desire to bring this Splendor to others, to do what I can to bring just a little more Beauty into the world.

Today, may our Compassionate hearts guide our experience of Splendor. May our assessments of ourselves be Compassionate and Balanced.

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

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


Day 32 נצח שבהוד

Day 30 גבורה שבהוד