Omer: Day 37 Ma’oz Tzur

Omer: Day 37 Gevurah shebbe Yesod

Gevurah shebbe Yesod: Power of Foundation

Otherwise rendered as the strength of foundation.

What is the strength of my foundation? Will my foundation stand on its own? Or do I need additional support from other sources? I would be the first to admit, that my foundation sometimes seems weak and wobbly. Other times, my foundation appears sturdy enough to keep me safe and secure. I do not always seek extra support; nor, do I consistently build upon my foundation, in order to strengthen it against adversity ahead of time. Yet, prevention measures are important, knowing that the storms of life will not cease to occur from time to time.

In regard to my chosen derech (path) in life, the terrain ahead of me is full of challenges. Yet, my foundational beliefs will sustain me, if I make every effort to increase my understanding day by day. Ultimately, my source of strength is from G’d, because my own power is limited. In recognition of the greater strength of G’d, I know that my foundation rests upon solid ground. When the tides of change will make waves strong enough to sweep away the unwary, I will stand upon a Rock. Ma’oz Tzur.

Omer: Day 36 Foundational Love

Omer: Day 36 Chesed shebbe Yesod

Today begins seven days of emphasis on the middah (character trait) of yesod, meaning foundation, amongst other renderings, such as covenant, bonding, and Tzaddik (Righteous One). Where is the stability in our lives? Are there consistent factors in our lives that contribute to a sense of stability? Or are we standing on shifting sands, always changing with the winds of the time? Trends and societal norms will always change; yet, lasting values are grounded in sound ethical, religious, or moral principles. G-d is key to my foundation in life. If at all possible, I would hope and pray that every aspect of my life be permeated by His wisdom.

Today’s unique combination of sefirot, expressed as middot (otherwise referred to as soul attributes), is chesed shebbe yesod (rendered as love within foundation). Chesed may also be rendered as mercy, kindness, or loving-kindness. How is my foundation built? If not with love as a quality that can be found within all of the building blocks, then how will that structure provide shelter for others? Moreover, I need to create a place within my foundational beliefs that permits space for others to grow in their own beliefs. In order to provide for respect, tolerance, and kindness toward others, chesed is key.

Omer: Day 31 Kaleidoscopic Splendor

Omer: Day 31 Tiferes shebbe Hod

Tiferes shebbe Hod: Beauty within Splendor

(Otherwise rendered as harmony within humility).

As explained elsewhere, only through bowing down in our hearts to the splendor of the L-RD, may we also acquire splendor, by way of reflecting His Splendor. Therefore, we may find through harmonizing ourselves enough to show deference to G-d, we may bear the light bestowed upon us through our reconciliation with Him. By way of harmonizing ourselves, I mean to bring the soul into alignment with truth, by sifting through the various inconsistencies in character, called from a psychological perspective, “cognitive dissonance.” Ideally, the result would be like viewing the shapes combined into patterns within the kaleidoscope of our soul. Imagine all of the variegated shapes being lit up by light in the background; this effect would be akin to G-d’s splendor being reflected by our souls.

note: The counting of the Omer serves as a spiritual journey. We are called upon to leave our own personal limitations behind us, as we travel on the path of freedom, away from the influence of negativity in our lives. This is a forty-nine day journey, a self improvement plan, between Passover and Shavuot. Each of the seven weeks corresponds to one of the seven middos (character traits) that we will have the opportunity to improve upon in our lives.

My personal reflections on each day’s combination of middot are not meant to be comprehensive; they are not based upon any one particular system. Nor, may my insights be characterized as authoritative, because I am a student, not a teacher. I simply hope to inspire others to delve into an exploration of their own personality, for the sake of tikkun hanefesh (rectification of the soul).

Omer: Day 30 Stand Humble

Omer: Day 30 Gevurah shebbe Hod

Gevurah shebbe Hod: Power within Splendor

The splendor of the L-RD is energized by the eternal source of Life that is synonymous with His existence: He existed before the beginning and brought all into being. Therefore, any sense of strength that we might have as human beings, is ultimately only from Him. And, furthermore, we are most able to reflect His splendor through our humility, in acknowledgment of His greater splendor.

The strength of humility, contrary to misconceptions, is not found in cowardice, nor timidity.  We should be aware of the potential for false humility, that manifests as emotional imposters in our hearts, claiming that we may not be worthy enough, courageous enough, or strong enough to stand up against evil. If we are able to face the negative aspects of our own character, then we can also make a difference by challenging wrongs found outside of us.

note: The counting of the Omer serves as a spiritual journey. We are called upon to leave our own personal limitations behind us, as we travel on the path of freedom, away from the influence of negativity in our lives. This is a forty-nine day journey, a self improvement plan, between Passover and Shavuot. Each of the seven weeks corresponds to one of the seven middos (character traits) that we will have the opportunity to improve upon in our lives.

My personal reflections on each day’s combination of middot are not meant to be comprehensive; they are not based upon any one particular system. Nor, may my insights be characterized as authoritative, because I am a student, not a teacher. I simply hope to inspire others to delve into an exploration of their own personality, for the sake of tikkun hanefesh (rectification of the soul).

Omer: Day 28 Whose Narrative Will You Follow?

Malchut shebbe Netzach: Kingdom within Endurance

The attribute of malchut may also be rendered as sovereignty, or autonomy.

Where within the quality of endurance, may autonomy be found? How does a sense of self, and personal motivation contribute to one’s endurance in the face of challenges? How much can we rely on our own autonomy, without seeking guidance from a Higher Authority? Reflect on these questions for yourself. Each person’s answer will be uniquely tailored to that person’s experience, belief, and values.

Scripture indicates that G-d would like us to be dependent upon Him, rather than see ourselves as completely independent. Yet, the more we depend upon Him, the less need there will be to depend upon others. Therefore, ironically, we become more self-sufficient in the eyes of others, who are not aware of the source of our strength. Therefore, it may be said that endurance may occur not only through our own efforts, but through a concomitant focus on G-d.

My own sense of autonomy is rooted in G-d’s authority; then, I will never stand alone, when facing the challenges of my life. Moreover, in confrontation with others, I can rest assured, that as long as I am in right relationship with G-d, He will support me, when faced with adversity. Trusting in His sovereignty means that I can trust in the values, inculcated by scripture.

Ideally, there should be no need for me to waver, in favor of an alternate set of values being promoted by anyone who claims to know better. This is not arrogance on my part. Rather, if I humble myself to G-d’s sovereignty in my life, then I do not speak on my own behalf. Whereas society would like to claim the right to decide on the narrative norm, it has already been engraved in stone, and spoken by the mouthpieces of G-d’s spokespersons, as recorded in scripture.

Omer: Day 27 Foundational Truths

Yesod shebbe Netzach: Foundation of Endurance

How well am I able to maintain an active participation in the foundational truths of my life? Do I only have an intellectual understanding of those truths? Or, am I able to ground those truths within the framework of my everyday life? Moreover, when faced with challenges, within and without, how well will that foundation prove to support the overall structure of my belief and practice? The stronger my foundation, the greater my ability to endure the storms of life. If my foundation is like a house built upon a rock, then it would be more secure than a foundation built upon sand.

A sure foundation is one that will withstand the changing seasons, because the underlying principles are founded upon timeless truths, such as those found in the Bible. Yet, a foundation built upon the shifting sands of societal norms will not last. This should be clear to anyone who reviews the values in American society, from the 1950’s until today. There has been a substantial shift away from traditional values to liberal ones, even going beyond all that was considered decent yesterday. And, where will this trajectory of descent lead?

Yet, I do not intend to moralize here, except to point out that what is considered normative in society changes over time. Especially, when there is an attempt to influence the societal norm in favor of an agenda that is secular, it seems that traditional godly values fall by the wayside. This is something to consider for both those who identify with traditional values, and those who do not. Where will the proverbial “line in the sand” be drawn?

Without building blocks that will provide a sure foundation, a structure built upon empty truths will not be established. The measure of strength of a foundation may very well be its resistance to change; therefore, only time tested truths will ultimately prevail. And, the establishment of any foundation that is not in accord with those truths will ultimately fail to provide the shelter that only G-d can provide, under the wings of the Shechinah.

self revelation

B”H

Today is thirty five days, five weeks of the Omer.

The attributes of the day are malchut shebbe hod

(sovereignty within humility)

Malchut represents sovereignty, dignity, and autonomy. We can walk with humility, while still maintaining a sense of dignity. This is because being humble does not mean becoming a doormat for other people to step on with soiled shoes, figuratively speaking. Rather humility permits us to acknowledge our weaknesses without disregarding our strengths. By way of contrast, while pride is an overexaggerated sense of self importance, humility is a fair assessment of ourselves as limited, yet, sufficient human beings.