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 34 יסוד שבהוד

Yesod SheBeHod. Grounding within Wow!. Foundation within Humility. Bonding within Purpose.

 I come to this day thoroughly prepared for grounding by having been deeply steeped in Humility on our day of Hod SheBeHod. It was a "Be careful what you pray for" kind of a day. I was praying in gratitude in the morning for feeling like maybe I'd turned a corner on my own hair-trigger reactions to my daughter. I prayed that I might not become complacent in the wake of recent successes at navigating some very tough spots. What I was given in response was a very cranky, oppositional child right out of the gate! My patience was stretched beyond my mere mortal limits and the Lion came out. Humbling, indeed. No room for complacency here!

The question I need always ask when I'm not thrilled with something I've done, or some hardship I've endured is: "How can this be used for good?" Fortunately, through the 12 Steps, I have learned to recognize when I need to apologize, to make amends for something I've done. I was able to go to my daughter and apologize for something I said in the heat of the moment, that I really regretted. We had a nice, albeit brief conversation about it, during which she also acknowledged her part in the mess. As a result, I know that I, for one, felt our Bond strengthen through our shared Humility.

Bonding within Purpose. This holds deep meaning for me, thinking about a couple of different spiritual communities I am a part of - my recovery community, and my fellow ALEPH Ordination students. The experience of Bonding within Purpose is especially highlighted for me when a new person walks through the door at one of my regular recovery meetings. Everybody perks up. There is a different kind of focus in the room. Sharing is clear and open at an entirely different level. We all have one purpose - to be helpful for the person who has come seeking help. It is a most powerful experience - almost like those of us with experience and success in recovery have woven a safety net with our energy. 

The sense of Purpose I share with my fellow students is both dramatically and not all together different from my experience with my recovery fellows. The work we do is intense. Bit by bit, we open, examine, mold, expand, float, reconstruct our souls and our minds through study and practice. We practice singing, texts, Hebrew. We take on new spiritual practices - turning on the vacation response for my email on Shabbat, planning my week so that I don't have to darken the door of a grocery store on Shabbat. Little by little dipping into new ways of living and connecting to Spirit. My fellow students are all over the place, ours being a seminary without walls. We see each other on-screen in classes each week, sometimes more than once, but it's not the same as being able to run into someone in the hall. There are times when I miss them terribly - the only other people in the world who know what it's like to be an ALEPH Ordination student. It is precisely through this ache for more connection that I feel the Bond of our common purpose. We celebrate each other when we gather in person for our week-long study intensives. We feel the Bonding through togetherness, and it fuels us for the next six months or year until we can see each other in 3D once again.

Today, let us deepen our roots in Grounding as we reach towards Peak. Let us Bond with our fellow travelers through our humanity and our devotion to Purpose.  

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

Day 35 מלכות שבהוד

Day 33 aka Lag BaOmer הוד שבהוד