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 35 מלכות שבהוד Malchut SheBeHod

Reality. Dignity. Sovereignty. Selfitude within Awe. Splendor. Gratitude. Humility. Wow!

How does Reality take shape within Gratitude? Dignity in Awe? Selfitude within Humility? It could be the moment when that flower you're totally absorbed in seems to take on an extra dimension. Wow!  It could be the feeling that passes between you and a loved one in a moment of deep giving and receiving. It could be the feeling of Dignity that comes when you slip into occupying the exact amount of Space into which you fit in a certain circumstance - true Humility.

As I begin to recover from a week of rigorous travel and ups-and-downs, I am starting to be able to re-enter some of the gevurodik practices I simply can't maintain under those circumstances. Notably, the 6AM jog. How I love my jog. It gives my body a chance to move, my eyes a chance to take in the ever-changing landscape as the seasons move by, my nose a chance to smell the many varieties of green, brown, purple, and pink wafting through the air. It gives my ears a chance to listen any number of things - music, podcasts, birds - and my mind a chance to wander as it will.

This morning I was listening to a talk by Father Richard Rohr called "Christianity and Unknowing," an assignment for a class I'm taking right now called Deep Ecumenism. In this class we study different faith traditions and find the places where they intersect, noticing how they work together, and how we personally experience these interactions within ourselves and the landscape of our personal theologies and practices. All this with an aim to maximalize the possibility of everybody getting along and playing nice.  Or, if you like (and I do), with the aim of healing the world.

In his talk, Father Richard talks about cataphatic and apophatic thinking. The first type of thinking is characterized by clarity and certitude - seeing the light. The other is characterized by darkness, not in the sense of evil (with which it is so often paired), but in the sense of knowing that there is so much left unknown. This unknowing allows for intuition and heart connection to activate fully. He talks of non-dualistic thinking, or unitive consciousness, and of where religion has gone astray again and again by operating inside dualistic consciousness. In this space, we feel perfectly free to say, "My way is the right way." Implicit (or not so very implicit) in that statement is, "Your way is the wrong way."

Where is she going with all this? I promise I'll get there.

What is religion anyway? To paraphrase my teacher Reb Victor Gross, it is the way we process, express, digest, come to grips with the Awe that we all experience at one point or another. There are many ways of doing that, but the common denominator is the experience of Awe.  

So, perhaps Malchut SheBeHod is what happens when we have the Selfitude to experience Awe and Splendor exactly the way we each experience it without having to apologize, defend, insist or impose. Perhaps in this state, we can come into the fullness of our own Splendor without threatening or feeling threatened. Wow. 

Today may you be blessed with the Dignity of your full Splendor. May you enjoy Selfitude in yourself and others within the Gratitude of Awe.

With thanks to Reb Victor, whose capacity to connect the dots will endlessly amaze me. 


Omer Day 36 חסד שביסוד Chesed SheBiYsod

Omer Day 34 יסוד שבהוד Yesod SheBeHod