haYom sh’loshim yom, sh’heim arba’a shavuot ush’nei yomim, laOmer: gevurah she b’hod

“while i live my songs will be for You, while i am i’ll speak my gratefulness”

not so far from Psalm 104 to a love song, yes?  ok, so maybe ‘gratefulness’ is a bit less sung in love songs, perhaps because they are largely focused on the next tryst….but that itself points to gevurah in hod….a love song born of more maturity suits this 30th day of the sefirat haOmer. 30 days from the onset of shiva is the normal end of strictest mourning, sh’loshim.  30 days reflects the mourning period recorded in Torah for Aharon and then later for Moshe. during the 23-day period after shiva and before sh’loshim,  traditionalists return to many aspects of life, but still reserve a few particular things: they avoid festive outings that involve music (usually including films, if they attend films normally), and they continue to avoid perfume and scents until the 30th day.

music and scent are the 2 things that most viscerally bring a loved one back and renew pain in loss. it is a very precisely targeted reserving, and that is what gevurah brings to a more general humility. the care of attitude in hod is targeted with the judgment and discernment of  gevurah.  but it also works the other way, in the attitude of hod, you can tend to miss larger issues for the sake of focusing on the splendor of the very, very small….literally miss the forest due to gratitude for the splendid bark of the trees. gevurah/judgement informs the reserve/focus of ‘unbridled’ hod/splendor.

but we are at 30 days, and only 3 days from lag b’Omer, the day on which all mourning customs associated with the sefirat haOmer are tossed aside….for bonfires, archery, kosher marshmallows/s’mores, haircuts (i know i need one), etc. so let’s consider a love song in proximity to Psalm 104:

“you are here, so am i….maybe millions of people go by…but they all disappear from view…

and i only have eyes for you….”

and, of course, that would be the purpose of tzitzit…to make sure that we don’t go about straying after the distractions of the eyes. but when it comes to Israel and G’d, is this pop lyric so far from a psalm that teaches out of gevurah in hod, discernment in reserving ourselves for the walk with G’d? Psalm 104 again….

“refreshing the face of the earth, Your Glory endures forever

Your work is an endless rejoicing”

ok. i find i have a showing of gevurah in hod today in my bride over which i can’t help but rejoice. she is prepping for an upcoming metal clay class she is teaching. and on the bedroom floor are spread out notecards with simple instructions, and an apportionment of just the right amount of supplies/materials for the doing in the class. she has been doing this since early this morning, stopping now and then for coffee and chat, or to watch the storm roll in. i see it and am overwhelmed with gratitude  for the love of a woman who brings such care and discernment to every thing she touches. gevurah in hod is this quiet work in the world, paying close attention to the particulars, considering the needs of others and preparing with wisdom gained from experience, seeing both the forest and the trees. baruch haShem yom yom for this love.

“my soul is for Your blessing”

Psalm 104 starts and ends in this refrain…..it absolutely rocks hod.

mussar for gevurah she b’hod

with another….bein adam l’chaveiro    appreciate the beauty in your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, your rabbi, your cantor. we all have a sheet of charges to level against others now and then.  just rip it up today. why? just for the sake of the splendor that you KNOW is in each of them somewhere, even if not in the place you would prefer it to be. be grateful that you have the beauty and suitability of the people you have.

with yourself….bein adam l’atzmo    this is a tough exercise, i fear….just don’t complain today. not even to yourself. not even once….not even in the background. to everyone  you speak to today be nothing but thankful…show off that attitude of gratitude.

kabbalah for gevurah she b’hod

in assiyah….the world of doing/completion    when i go to the analgesics aisle at the drug store, i get a headache…maybe they plan it that way, eh? but i feel weariness and pain at the multitude of ridiculous choices we have for aspirin, acetominophen and nsaids….but everyday we are presented with oodles of temptations in choices. few are really good for us. many simply don’t matter much. and many others are downright bad for us. meditate on your choices of the past week, are there any of which your are particularly proud? any where your discernment played in to affect your ultimate choice?

in yetzirah….the world of feeling/formation    my bride is very particular about the purses she buys….and she loves purses (can i get a witness?). it is less about how they look, i think (though i’m sure they all look swell as well) than how they function. the right compartments, pockets, attachables for the organizing of the mary poppins collection of stuff that must be carried about. if purses were alive, would they evolve? contemplate how powerfully operational suitability fits into the entirety of Creation. be thankful for the adaptations that allow you to function rather effortlessly in the world. and why is it that organizing a closet leaves you feeling so good?

in b’riyah….the world of thought/creation    apparently we humans were created with an obvious skill to categorize and distinguish between things. we may have been put in the Garden of Eden to tend the veggies, but the first thing we are recorded doing is naming the animals. consider your skill in judgment, in calling a thing by its right name…how much of your ability is inbred? how much do you bring from experience? be thankful for both.

in atzilut….the world of nearness to G’d/intuition    remember a time when you felt particularly close to G’d. did you think your way there? were you in a particular circumstance? did you meditate to that point? or did it just happen? can you put your finger on it? the effort partakes in gevurah in hod.

kinyan 30 of 48 ways to acquire Torah

Ohev et haBriyot….Loving all Creatures.  we know that all the animals on the planet are important from the story of Noach. we may hypothesize that plants have a unique relationship with G’d, for they were left to their own devices, perhaps setting seed that could withstand the period of deluge was their ticket. but we learn this trait from the great r’ Hillel, who teaches we should all be like Aharon, loving peace, loving your fellow creatures, and attracting them to the study of Torah. we sort of have to assume that Hillel was thinking of humans…for attracting slugs to Torah is a fool’s errand.

unless we take the Ramban to heart. he teaches that the Torah is but one extended name of G’d and that all of Creation, therefore, has a relationship with it….even if we do not recognise it. therein is the acquisition of Torah as well.

stewardship is all inclusive, consider Psalm 8:

“you have given them care for the works of Your Hands…

placed the solid growing earth under their feet”

so when you walk humbly (in hod) with G’d, think fondly of the Demodex you host.

so, what do you think?

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