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 29 חסד שבהוד Chesed SheBeHod

Love. Generosity. Unbounded Giving. Kindness in Action within Gratitude. Humility. Wow! 

Saturday, May 18

Tonight we enter a new week, the week of Hod. Rabbi Yael Levy boils Hod down to Presence. And how true. Hod calls us to attention. “Hey!” 

Speaking of hey, I’ve been playing with the letters that bring us Chesed SheBeHod. Hod - הוד . Indeed, the first letter is, literally, “hey”. Hey (ה) is a letter whose sound is life-breath, the sound of an exhale. יה Yaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

Vav - ו - is a letter that connotes and denotes connection. It denotes connection by functioning as a conjunction when placed at the beginning of a word as a prefix. אני ואתה (ani v’atah), Ikh un Du, I and Thou. In its connotative function, it is the outstretched arm reaching up or reaching down, depending on Who is doing the reaching, seeking and fostering connection between the Divine and Human realms.

Dalet - ד - Rabbi Lawrence Kushner teaches, is a series of 4 דלתות (dal’tot) - doors - the fourth of which is the door to דביקות (devekut), a deep and abiding connection to the Source of Life, of Holiness.

The elements that make up, and are encompassed within Hod, all point to Presence: Gratitude, Amazement, Humility. We must surely be Present to what is going on around and inside us to experience any of these states. 

Chesed - חסד - holds within it a particular type of strength - חזק - that comes not so much from might or force as from balance and endurance. It is the strength of past experience telling us that we can get through THIS, too.  

In this knowing, we sense and remember that we are surrounded by a Divine sukkah - סכה - and that we are being supported - סומח (somech). 

With all of this in mind, we can walk, once again, through the 4 doors - דלתות (dal’tot) - into devekut - דביקות.

Surely, all of this provides us with what we need to Love Freely, to Give Generously, to be inside the Flow of what is Present all around us.

Shavua tov. 

Omer Day 30 גבורה שבהוד Gevurah SheBeHod

Omer Day 28 מלכות שבנצח Malchut SheBeNetzach