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 14 מלכות שבגבורה Malchut SheBiG’vurah

Shekhina. Reality. Actualization. Selfitude within Strength. Boundaries. Judgement. Discipline. Discernment. 

Friends, we have a great need of Shekhina within the Boundaries that are being imposed upon our little family at the moment. While I am showing signs of improvement, I am still on the couch, and it is getting old. 

Meanwhile, my daughter - a violinist and gymnast - has injured a finger on her left hand such that it needs to be immobilized for 6 weeks. Oh, and did I mention that she was scheduled to compete in state finals and play at a recital this weekend? Ouch. 

I stood in admiration of her positive attitude about it for much of the day. She knows how stressful meets can be for her, so the thought of letting it go appealed at that level. She optimistically figured she’d learn to navigate the violin using only her three healthy fingers, letting her splinted finger dangle above the fingerboard. Furthermore, she is getting to be quite a strong trumpet player (her latest endeavor since entering middle school this year), and observed that perhaps she could just throw herself all the more into that if the 3-fingered violin thing didn’t pan out.

Over the course of the day, however, my wife and I received further information about the care of her finger to promote proper healing. Her violin teacher suggests complete rest, lest other parts of her hand start compensating in strange ways and further injury ensues. A different orthopedic specialist my wife contacted later in the day had a much more conservative approach to her gymnastics participation than did the person we saw this morning. 

So, after a very difficult attempt at violin - AMA & *APA - she moved on to her trumpet. Oh, and did I mention that she had braces put on at the beginning of the week? Yeah, ouch.  When the Reality of what was beginning to feel like a harsh Judgement started to set in, the positive outlook of earlier in the day quickly fled in the face of furious, anguished disappointment. 

It is going to take great Discipline - physical, mental, and spiritual - for each of us to walk through the coming weeks . Our hearts broke as she wept with adolescent imaginings of permanence, her three loves snatched away from her suddenly and all at once. Forever. Six weeks is an unimaginable eternity from her vantage point. We will have to call on all of our Inner and Higher resources to resist the urge to deny her experience and superimpose the Reality of temporariness on her inflamed feelings.  We will also have to practice holding Boundaries between her feelings and our own, as well as between our own potentially differing ideas about how to walk her through this ordeal.

So, yes, we need a huge does of that beloved Indwelling Presence in this Gevurodik time. How fitting that Shabbat falls right at the beginning of this 6-week journey of rest.

May you be filled with the Presence of Shekhina on this final day of the week of Gevurah. 

Shabbat shalom. 

*Against Parental Advice

Omer Day 15 חסד שבתפארת Chesed SheBeTiferet

Omer Day 13 יסוד שבגבורה Yesod SheBiG’vurah