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 31 תפארת שבהוד Tiferet SheBeHod

Balance. Harmony. Beauty. Compassion. Heart. Art within Receptivity. Space. Wow! Awe. Gratitude. Humility. Presence.

Monday, May 20

I know I jumped ahead a wee bit last night, bringing the word “balance” in. I chose not to capitalize it, in honor of staying in the day. But it’s fair game. The whole thing is, after all, a re-Balancing endeavor in the broadest sense. 

Tonight, I keep picturing a scene from one of my all-time favorite movies - The Triplets of Belleville. This Beautiful and zany movie features a high level cyclist, his roly-poly canine companion, and his devoted grandmother. She is his trainer and his technician - glass eye, legs of terrifically different lengths, and all. 

In this scene, we see them at the end of a grueling training session, having ridden through the cobbled, hilly streets of the unidentified French city in which they live. Did I mention that Grandma rides a tricycle? Did I mention that this is an animated film? Not a children’s movie, to be sure, but animated. Anyway, they return home from their ride, whereupon “Champion” collapses in his dinner and Grandma tunes up his bike. Literally.

Now, I have no idea whether this has any bearing in reality, but Grandma tends to each spoke with a wrench and a tuning fork, seeing to it that each one is Harmonized with every other and with the whole, bringing the wheels back into perfect Balance. By the way, this is another movie that is HIGHLY worth the rental fee. VERY weird opening sequence, but trust me.

How do we bring this exquisite Balance into Hod? I won’t spoil a perfectly good question with an answer, I’ll just keep musing...  We’ve explored Chesed and Gevurah in this framework. Tiferet is their meeting point, right in the Heart.

I heard a wonderful definition of Compassion the other day, and how it distinguishes itself from sympathy. This came up in a TED talk given by social activist Theo EJ Wilson on his experiment going undercover via social media in the world of white supremacy. He is an African-American man. He explained that Compassion is the ability to understand how someone got to where they got. Sympathy is having Compassion for where they ARE. As he studied the people he was interacting with, virtually dressed in masterful identity camouflage, he began to understand how these haters got to where they got. Nobody is exempt from the trauma of institutionalized racism, in his observation and understanding. He had Compassion for these people. Sympathy is where he drew the line - hard and fast. He was not going to let them off the hook on account of their past. I have been holding this as I walk through these days with my vulnerable daughter. Much of my musings last night touched on the drawing of that line. 

Tonight, and in the coming day, my intention is to keep my tuning fork and my wrench trained on the Compassion spoke of this great wheel, trying to understand how to Harmonize it within the rims of Receptivity.  

Today, let us seek Compassion in the Presence of even the most baffling of relationships and circumstances. May we dwell in Gratitude for the Holy Source, who tunes and Balances us in this time of Receptivity. 

PS - a clarifying thought

Omer Day 30 גבורה שבהוד Gevurah SheBeHod