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 12 הוד שבגבורה

Hod SheBeGevurah. Splendor, glory, humility within strength, discipline, judgement.

I'm loving this.

We've all stood in awe of some great natural beauty. A magnificent land formation, a gigantic, orange moon that appears so close, you're sure you could reach out and hold it in your hand. In those moments, we experience simultaneously the splendor, the glory of creation, and our humble place in it. That experience embodies for me the seemingly disparate ideas of splendor and humility contained within Hod.

What does that look like inside of Gevurah? Get comfortable, we might be here for a while! Let's explore.

What are your strengths? Where did they come from? What do you do to build on them? How are the gifts you bring into the world received by others? Can you think of some times that your gifts were received with great appreciation? How does that feel? 

As I continue down the path of becoming a Hazzan, I am increasingly aware of my strengths, my gifts. I am also exceedingly aware of what I have to do to cultivate these gifts in order to achieve my hopes for even a glimmer of mastery of this ancient art. Let's start with learning an entirely new language with an entirely different alphabet, written and read "backwards" (Ginger Rogers, anyone?). I did not grow up Jewish, so I had to start from scratch as an adult.  I come to this as an experienced professional musician, yet even in this area, I am faced with an entirely new set of musical systems, and an approach to music-making which relies heavily on a type of structured improvisation, combined with a strong enough familiarity with Hebrew to make it all flow. Yes, this all takes a great deal of Gevurah! Discipline, structure, strength. Also plenty of Netzach, I assure you. But, that was yesterday's topic... 

Then, of course, there is the task of managing my daily existence, replete with being a wife and mother, working professional, learning intern, four to six hours of in-class time each week, homework, perhaps a blog that I may have gotten myself into, and, oh yeah, maintaining my recovery, which underpins all that I do, have, and am today. Gevurah!

Where's the Hod?? Let me start by saying that, as I experience my strengths - seeing the faces in the congregation as I look around during one of our beloved musical Shabbat services, being told that my singing of Yiddish song has brought someone into a world of sweet memories, being thanked for a listening ear and a helpful insight - I experience deeply that natural wonder feeling. I feel aglow with gratitude that I may have served someone's spirit. I feel a deep sense of humility - how did this happen? Surely, I have these gifts, but they are just that. Gifts. A gift is something that is given.

The Hod within the Gevurah? It takes serious shvitzing to cultivate these gifts. When I put in the sweat hours, I see the payoff, and I am left with the splendor and the humility that comes from keeping the discipline that allows me to be of service. 

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

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


Day 13 יסד שבגבורה

Day 11 נצח שבגבורה