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 37 גבורה שביסוד Gevurah SheBiYsod

Strength. Boundaries. Structure. Discernment. Discipline. Judgement within Foundation. Roots. Connection. Creative Energy. 

I had a wonderful conversation with my voice teacher recently about practice. I so much appreciate the way she thinks about things, and am happy to have the chance to invite you into the conversation here. Let‘s see if we can parse out why it arises so powerfully for me as we sink into Gevurah SheBiYsod... 

We began by talking about vocal practice in specific. By vocal practice, I mean both those minutes we set aside in a day devoted to practicing the art and mechanics of singing, and the physical and mental functions we call upon to actually sing. 

As we cannot actually see our instrument, much of what we do is accomplished through Creative visualization and choices around where to focus our attention. We are deciding whether the best tactic to achieve the desired outcome lies with attention or distraction. If attention, what is the best type of attention to give? If distraction, where is the more effective place to focus our energy? Gevurah. All of these lines of thinking have to do with Boundaries and Discernment. We must call on our best Judgement moment by moment.

Do we continue struggling through a problem area, or do we take a break and do the dishes for a while? The impact of a vocal practice session gone awry can rival that of any bad hair day - even the bad hair day of our resident adolescent. 

As is so often the case with us, the conversation expanded out of the microcosm of singing into the much broader area of life in general. Singing is like that... We talked about how the benefits of the time we spend focusing our attention during a vocal practice session trains our minds in our ability to choose where to focus our attention over the course of any given day. We are all such multi-faceted beings, we need to practice Discernment all through the day about what to prioritize. We need to place Boundaries around our time and energy expenditures. I may need to ask myself, “Do I need to call on Diana the Administrator right now, or Diana the Singer? I see I need to be Diana the Teacher in an hour from now. Do I need to give my mind some ‘off-leash’ time between now and then?” And on it goes... 

Yesod. Practice. 

If my various practices are the things that lay the Foundation and form the Root structure of my life, then those questions, choices, and assessments are the Gevurah within it all. 

There! I knew it would become clear as the ink flowed! (Yes, I write these with an actual pen on actual paper before lofting them up into the cloud...) 

I’m a person who really enjoys processes. I love figuring out how things work (BOTH of my grandfathers were mechanical engineers!). I adore puzzles of all sorts. It is THAT Diana who leaves you with the following blessing: 

May you enjoy noticing how you make your Discernments today. May you take pleasure in establishing the Boundaries that will support your Creative Energy. May the time you spend in activity and in rest work to Strengthen your Foundation. 


Omer Day 38 תפארת שביסוד Tiferet SheBiYsod

Omer Day 36 חסד שביסוד Chesed SheBiYsod