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 2 גבורה שבחסד Gevurah SheBeChesed

Strength. Power. Boundaries. Discernment. Withholding. Discipline. Within Love. Generosity. Kindness. 

Many times today, I thought, “What on earth am I going to write about tonight?”  Each time, I would remember that it is my practice to simply try and stay in the day, and trust that when the sun sets and the new day begins, I will know what to do. Inevitably, an idea did start to form late in the day - an idea that made me smile. Maybe I’ll get there...

Let me start with the experience of standing to bless the Holy One for this mitzvah of counting the days of the Omer. I took a breath, and my face lit up with the smile that knew my idea of earlier today had just been blown out of the water. With the breath, I felt a power wash into me. I uttered each word, slowly, only proceeding at the pace my experience would allow. With each word, I felt the comingling of Love and Strength, felt myself inside the Love and Generosity that surrounds the gift of a clear way forward. I felt the Strength of my Love inside the Divine Love, flowing back to the Source through my engagement with this practice, this Discipline.

Full disclosure: I do not have this type of experience every time I say/chant/give/recite a bracha. Wouldn’t that be lovely! This was as extra-ordinary as it sounds. Maybe this was G-d’s way of laughing at my plan, as I fell again and again out of the day of Chesed SheBeChesed, trying to figure out what was coming next.

Which reminds me... There really was a thought that came earlier - the one that made me smile. As a budding hazzan, I guess you could say I have a healthy fondness for our liturgy. My mind started searching for clues about Gevurah within Chesed, and landed quickly on the “Gevurot” blessing of the Amidah. I was brought back to my first in-earnest study of this prayer, when I woke up to the fact that that the examples of Gevurah (Strength, Power) included sustaining life with Chesed, supporting the fallen, healing the sick, freeing the captive. 

If I can’t have an extra-ordinary experience of Strength inside a mutual flow of human and Divine Love with each bracha I recite, at least I can know how to practice acts that express this as I walk through each blessed 24 hour period. 

Omer Day 3 תפארת שבחסד Tiferet SheBeChesed

Omer Day 1 חסד שבחסד Chesed SheBeChesed