Day 41 of the Omer

Gate 41
Yesod b’Yesod / Connection within connection

Tonight (Thursday night) we begin the day of yesod squared: the day of connection within the week of connection.

Yesod is associated with the figure of the tzaddik, the righteous person; in Proverbs 10:25 we read that “the tzaddik is the foundation (yesod) of the world.” I find resonance in the Hasidic understanding that very few people are wholly tzaddikim (righteous ones) or rasha’im (wicked ones) — most of us are beynonim, “in-betweens,” struggling to balance our good impulses with our wicked ones — but this week I ask, how are my actions building the world in which I want to live? What foundation am I establishing with my actions and my behavior? Will that foundation support the structures I yearn to create?

Here’s another poem from Shifrah Tobacman’s Omer/Teshuvah:


We use the tools at our disposal
to put the pieces back together.

Once the thread broke on a page of Torah
when the scroll was being lifted
to display to the congregation.

Some people were distraught,
some barely noticed,
some were distraught
that others didn’t notice.

The lessons from the reading
had been trying that day.

The teacher said,
“let’s fix the Torah.”

So after lunch
we collected our tools,
a sewing needle,
a magnifying glass,
and a roll of dental floss.

What lightweight items
do you carry when you travel,
and how might they be used
when things you depend on
begin to unravel?

Tuck them away safely
within easy reach, you can always
take them out later, after you cross through
the 41st 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 forty-one days, which are five weeks and six days, of the Omer!


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