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 26 הוד שבנצח Hod SheBeNetzach

Awe. Gratitude. Peak. Humility. Space within Eternity. Endurance. Long-Haul. Active Force. 

Last night, as this new day of Hod SheBeNetzach was settling in, I was in the midst of a concert with my parents. That is, we were performing this concert together. As I sat in my meditation this morning, trying to make sense of the image I had been given of the meeting of the x and y axes, it came to me that there were several ways in which this experience embodied the middot du jour. 

I am a soprano, my mother is an oboist, my father is a harpsichordist. Two solo treble instruments accompanied by continuo. I will not make you look up the Grove Dictionary of Music online to figure out what all that means. Treble = high-pitched (soprano, e.g.); Harpsichord = early keyboard instrument whose strings are plucked rather than hammered by the action of the keys; Continuo = running bass line combined with harmonic structure of the music. 

Some dear friends had traveled a bit of a distance to join us that evening, who are not only high caliber musicians, but also high caliber observers of people and dynamics. They made the following observation: my mother and I, as trebles in duet, could swirl around each other, sending the music up, up, up to soar in a dance of gratitude back up to the Source. Hod. (OK, these were not their exact words.) While this was going on, my father, with intense depth of focus at the harpsichord bench, provided a constant flow of steady rhythm, evenly paced notes, almost like a moving platform for us to dance upon and drive our forward motion. Netzach. The Active Force of the continuo (when done well) is not only a platform, but a virtual ballroom within which the other voices can dance freely. Hod SheBeNetzach.

The continuo in and of itself embodies another aspect of the dynamic of Hod SheBeNetzach. In the sense that Hod can also describe making space for another's will, this is also an important job of the continuo player. The continuo player must provide a steady, unfaltering Active Force, while carefully observing the melody instruments and singers, providing room to breathe, allowing for gentle pushing and pulling at the tempo and rhythm, while never faltering in the Forward Drive. Hod SheBeNetzach.

And that's just the music.  Dayeinu!

As you might guess, the musical relationship with my parents has been an Enduring one. They nurtured my music making from the time I was a wee bit of a child. I began to have opportunities to join them in some of their professional endeavors from the time I was a teenager. I conscripted them to join me in almost all of the major recitals I gave over the course of my formal musical education. (I did give them the day off for my graduate recital. ) We have collaborated many times in many ways over many years in this Enduring musico-familial relationship.

Now for the hard part. A bittersweet experience, this may well have been the last time we will get to collaborate in this way. I thought we had already had our last. They have both been retired for some time, and my father is experiencing the effects of Parkinson's disease. They came out of retirement for this remarkable program - a memorial concert for a dear, long-time family friend who passed in January. So, you can bet that the level of Gratitude we all experienced with this opportunity for one last dance together in this way was considerable. To say nothing of the Awe of the whole thing.

May you be blessed today with Enduring Gratitude and Gratitude for the things that are Enduring. May your spiral dance of Awe and Gratitude rise up to greet the Enduring Eternal. 

Omer Day 27 יסוד שבנצח Yesod SheBeNetzach

Omer Day 25 נצח שבנצח Netzach SheBeNetzach