Loving-kindness within Beauty and Harmony
Today we’re beginning week three of the Omer. During the first week of the Omer, we focus on chesed, lovingkindness, a kind of limitless abundance. During the second week, we focus on gevurah, the force of strong boundaries which rein in that limitless chesed. This week, we find harmony and balance between the two. This is the week of tiferet.
Today is the day of chesed (lovingkindness) within the week of tiferet (beauty and harmony.)
How do you keep your lovingkindness balanced and harmonious? Today is a day to celebrate the love in your heart which impels you to act kindly toward others — and the harmony or balance which allows you to do so without bending too far, without overwhelming yourself or overcommitting yourself.
This is the fifteenth step toward Shavuot, toward revelation. In Hebrew, the number 15 can be spelled either ט”ו (tet vav, 9 + 6) or י”ה (yud heh, 10 + 5.) The word Yud Heh, pronounced Yah, is a name of God. May we experience the unfolding of lovingkindness within beauty, harmony, and balance as an expression of God’s name and God’s nature — and our own!
Here’s another poem from Shifrah Tobacman’s collection Omer/Teshuvah:
WEEK THREE, DAY ONE
Loving-kindness perfectly balanced,
chesed wrapped in tiferet.
Notice your own gifts.
Wrap them beautifully
and give them to yourself.
Be gentle with your self.
Commit random acts of loving-kindness
on your behalf.
Hold yourself tenderly
in your own sweet thoughts
under the perfectly balanced archway
of the 15th gate.
As I count the Omer, let my counting create a tikkun, a healing, between transcendence and immanence, God far above and God deep within.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם, אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.
Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, breath of life, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.
Today is fifteen days, which are two weeks and one day, of the Omer!