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.

Omer Day 1 חסד שבחסד Chesed SheBeChesed

Chesed within Chesed. Love, generosity, loving expression, expressive caring within loving-kindness, willing giving, Love.

I said I wasn't going to do this. And I meant it. But here I am. I am not promising to write every day. I had already promised myself that I would not write at all, so we'll see how well that goes. I just find this season so very compelling. Those of you who know me, know that I am always looking to deepen my connection with the Source of All That Is, and to deepen my understanding and acceptance of myself. There's nothing quite like a spin through the sefirot to further those ever-present aims. 

I'm not exactly sure what I want to say today, especially considering that I had no intention of being here. I did go back and read some of the notes I took last year - stopped short of reading last year's actual post for this day. The thing that caught my eye was the note I took on Rabbi Yael Levy's writing for that day (I've just discovered her daily doesn't seem to be up this year!), in which she focused on being totally open to receiving Divine Love. I find myself focused on giving love, but I also know I have been having some trouble loving myself recently, mostly in the form of being disappointed in myself around certain things, and thinking I should be somewhere other than where I am, spiritually and in other ways. It's kind of hard to give love when you are not accepting it, and when you are just not accepting yourself.

This focus on receiving Divine Love while still looking at giving generously of the love that I have to share brings to mind Rabbi Marcia Prager's wonderful description of a fountain in the likeness of a tree. She writes about this in her book "The Path of Blessing." There is, of course, a steady flow of water from a source, which then pours down from the top, each cupped leaf catching and releasing the flowing water simultaneously. And so flows blessing, from the Source, into and out of our cupped hands, waiting to catch it and pass it on, allowing it to to return to the Source. 

Anyone that knows me also knows that I have an abiding and sincere desire to give lovingly of myself. On this particular day of Chesed SheBeChesed, my repair work just may be in the arena of being open to receiving the Divine Loving Flow.

But, while surely the Flow is part of the picture (even a BIG part), I am still left with the need to explore just what it means for Chesed to be WITHIN Chesed. The way I'm seeing it today, if G8d both surrounds and is within each of us, then whatever Love each of us has to offer the world is contained within the Divine Intent, and the Divine Love fills and informs our loving intentions. Our Love and G8d's Love are working together to magnify, amplify, and broadcast each other. 

May you be so blessed as to receive the Love that is Always trying to reach you, that you may also know the Gratitude of passing it on. May you be blessed with the awareness of G8d's Love Within and All Around you.

Omer Day 2 גבורה שבחסד Gevurah SheBeChesed

Parashat Va'era