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 8 חסד שבגבורה Chesed SheBiG’vurah

Love. Extension. Latitude. Kindness. Generosity. Within Strength. Power. Discipline. Structure.

A new week! I find myself somewhat amazed, even a little incredulous that I am already writing about the week of Gevurah. Weeks are just like that sometimes. 

Those who know me know that I keep quite a bit of Gevurah - Structure and Discipline - in my life. I can get a little intense about it, which is why a day like today can be a very good thing for me. Case in point: I prefer to write these in the evening right after blessing and counting the day. As I engage with the text of the practice, sensations and thoughts enter me and begin to inform what will come though my fingers as I tap at the keys. I sit down and start tapping, in a bit of a reverie, until I am done. Sometimes I’m not done tweaking, but it’s time to go to bed so I let it steep in my dreams until morning. 

The first year I did this, I spent the day reading, contemplating, drafting, tweaking for the day to come (where did I get the time???). The next year - last year - I quickly found that I didn’t like to do it that way, and no longer needed to, besides. I was never really in the day that we were in doing it that way. You can see the dissonance. So, this year I have my preferred way, which can very easily become a rule for someone like me.

The last couple of days, it’s been important for me to have some Latitude around my approach between Shabbat and a chance to have dinner and a movie with my daughter last night. It meant that I had to write the Day 7 post early in the day on Friday to get it out before Shabbat. It meant that I had to do the bulk of the writing for today’s this morning because I was out late last night. Tonight, I will be out at a Yom HaShoa event at my shul, so we’ll see what happens with the writing for tonight. I’m willing to Extend myself, allowing for the Kindness of a reasonable bedtime, not getting stuck inside of a rigid Gevurodik rut for fear that the whole thing will fall apart if I deviate from my preferred way.

While there are some daily disciplines that I simply cannot afford to be lenient with, it’s very important for me to recognize which Structures are made of material that has a little give in the knit. 

Today, my invitation to you is to Love your Discipline, and to be Generous with your practice within its Structure when the need may arise. 

Shavua tov. 

Omer Day 9 גבורה שבגבורה Gevurah SheBiG’vurah

Omer Day 7 מלכות שבחסד Malchut SheBeChesed