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 3 תפארת שבחסד Tiferet SheBeChesed

Beauty. Art. Balance. Harmony. Splendor. Within Love. Generosity. Kindness. Flow.

What do I want to bring into this day? What does it mean to repair this Sefira? What does it mean for me to seek Beauty and Harmony in my life right now? In the world? What actions can I take? What thoughts can I think?

Tiferet - the place where Chesed and Gevurah meet and swirl around each other, their distinct colors creating a new pattern that is, itself, distinct, yet holds the distinction of its component parts.  This brings me into the idea that all distinctions are somehow illusory, if we are all part of the vast One. And yet, each element in this universe was created with its own distinct form, pattern, function.

From there I am brought into the micro-universes of which I am a part - my family, my beloved learning community, my synagogue life, the families that make up our public school. I could go on and on, in ever-widening circles of wholes made up of parts, each serving its own function.

But this is getting too big. I am, after all, a bit of a pragmatist. The idea of Balancing Chesed and Gevurah inside the dwelling place of Love inevitably conjures up thoughts and feelings about parenting. Is it a “teaching moment” or a moment to just sit and listen? As my daughter goes racing towards her teenage years, which are the Boundaries that need to be expanded, and which need to be held strong?  Is it Love or fatigue that leads to trying one more brand of cherry yogurt? When do I err on the side of Generosity and when to Withold? When do each of these become a guise for the other? 

Perhaps the Tiferet - the Balance, the Art, the Harmony -  I would like to bring into this new day is that of trusting my instincts. Perhaps those questions are important, but do I need to be constantly asking them all the time? Maybe it is enough that I love my daughter so much it hurts sometimes. So much that memories of things she said nearly ten years ago as an endlessly chatty toddler still ring in my ears as though she just said them yesterday. Enough that I still see the profile of her 2-month-old face, so perfect I cannot capture what I see in the camera.

I don’t get to see my daughter very much on Tuesdays. Perhaps a Beautiful Love like that is just what I want to bring into this day. 

Omer Day 4 נצח שבחסד Netzach SheBeChesed

Omer Day 2 גבורה שבחסד Gevurah SheBeChesed