Tag Archives: Counting the Omer

Every Good Deed Matters

23 May

Day 38 of the Omer

Tiferet in Yesod – balanced harmony and beauty in a solid foundation.

These two concepts are picture perfect, precisely honed, needle in a haystack, ideals. I am often intimidated by an ideal – can I really push for that thing that is so far out there, so beyond my capacity?

I recently read a beautiful Hasidic teaching that helps me with a lot of problems: the world is finely balanced between, on the one hand, creative deeds and thoughts, and on the other, destructive deeds and thoughts. Every positive thought and deed that we muster contributes to the leaning of the world toward greater creativity and repair.

The ideals of balance and wholeness are meant to be difficult to reach – they are ideals after all. In reaching for them we make a difference in ourselves and all of creation, because all of the quanta matter.

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Jewish Environmental Spirituality

14 May

Day 29 of the Omer

Chesed in Hod – loving-kindness in grace.

We open up this week of the Omer focusing on humility, grace, and smallness. A week of remembering that the role of the pixel is both vital and beautiful in its importance and tininess.

How we interact with our environment may be an exercise in compassion. We are so small our impact seems negligible. Yet each of our infinitely tiny actions makes a difference, as we each contribute ripple effects that expand our smallness in all directions.

I work to be compassionate to the planet, to my neighbors, and to my family.

Every small action still counts.

Deciding what to eat

13 May

Day 28 of the Omer.

Malchut in Netzach – ruling and being effective in eternity.

Long term effectiveness – how to put something in place that stands the test of time – I often worry so much I don’t dip a toe into the water.

And shouldn’t we worry? Someone once thought that eating fat made us fat, so eating low fat would make us skinny. And a person who sold sugar thought that was a great idea. Forty years later look at the experiment that has resulted in the American diet and our health.

We must be careful when we act with eternity in mind, and perhaps we should always act with eternity in mind. The long term effect of this action, and acting with a sense of the long term, these frameworks may be better starting points in any moment of decision and planning.

Act, be bold, and be thoughtful too!

Building toward LGBT equality

12 May

Day 27 of the Omer

Yesod in Netzach – a solid balanced foundation in the long view persistent.

Building something to last needs a solid beginning. We have been building to the moments that turn into lifetimes in this country when we make marriage possible for everyone.

I am so proud and honored to be part of multiple communities who put compassion and family first, and support and advocate for LGBT inclusion and same-sex marriage.

I am thrilled when I see an openly gay football player kiss his boyfriend in joy and celebration at being drafted into the NFL.

Take the time and effort to build something from the ground up so that it will become lasting. Aim for eternity, and start on the ground.

Taking care of details for Mom

12 May

Day 26 of the Omer [from yesterday]

Hod in Netzach – the grace of the minute in eternal victory.

[A delayed reflection on Mother’s Day]

Attention to details matters. Small things make a difference in the biggest of pictures.

Yesterday, according to Ginny, the mother of our children, I did pretty well at providing her a good Mother’s Day. Everything was about the small things: providing tasty and celebratory food for the family throughout the day, and cleaning up the kitchen too. Giving Ginny time and space to enjoy the day, start and complete an art project, now hanging in our living room, and attending to the little things that Ginny thought would be good for us all.

Providing a good day works when it reflects our attempts to provide good days all the time. The little details count so much more when we work on them regularly.

Our stories reach out in time

10 May

Day 25 of the Omer.

Netzach in Netzach – the everlasting in the long view.

On this day when I was so honored to celebrate Shabbat with the Teen Vocal Ensemble and the Teen Band of Temple Beth El, I am deeply touched by how easily our actions can ripple forward and backward in time.

One of the first students I met here, Caleb Seidler, gave a D’var Torah, a teaching of Torah, about the importance of caring for the earth. As I have been honored to be his teacher, so he as one of our youth assistant teachers has been an influential teacher of my son Jude.

Our actions, our stories, our attempts at wisdom, they strike the fabric of time and weave a tapestry so quickly beyond our own individual threads.

I am in awe of it all.

Parenting Requires Balance

9 May

Day 24 of the Omer.

Tiferet in Netzach – balanced harmony in eternity.

As the harmonization between rigor and compassion, I fully embrace the challenge of attempting to be a parent for the long term, and how much that beautiful balance must be a part of it.

To set a standard, enforce it, and then when broken, be compassionate to our children so that they can learn and grow from the experience. So that they will still turn to us and not fear us too much. So that they can engage with the world and its rules as adventurers and not be oppressed by the weight of it all.

This is a challenge!