Transcript: This time of the Omer is sort of like a Cosmic Carwash. We come through the narrow place and are immediately dropped onto this track which moves us through, one day at a time, in this Omer tunnel which brings clearing, alignment and balance. I picture water of different colours, reaching us from different angles in different ways. We enter on the shores of freedom come out on the other end realigned, and ready to receive revelation.
Let’s take a big breath first.
Many generations ago, and even in this time, we came through a narrow place. Oppression at our heels, perhaps in human form, perhaps in cultural form, pushed us to the point of risking it all.
We made our way through the narrows collectively, not possible to go it alone. Each one responsible for the other, we arrived at the shores and one courageous soul made their way into the water with the deepest emunah, the deepest faith, such that the waters parted and together we made our way through.
On the far shores – the shores of freedom – Miriam Imeinu, Miriam our Ancestress, took timbrel in hand and began to sing and dance, celebrating our arrival.
And then we found ourselves in uncertainty, in the desert. For how long? No one knows. We continued to move forward even without a clear map or direction. We didn’t know where we were going, we didn’t know how long it will take to get there. Nonetheless, we journey forward.
How does it feel in your body to recognise this ancestral blueprint of wandering in uncertainty? Where does the emunah – the faith – live? Can you feel the source of bitachon, of trust? Where does it emanate from?
In the time since the Kabbalists, many many centuries, this journey of uncertainty has been marked by the re-balancing of sefirot. So let’s do that…
We begin with chesed. Chesed: lovingkindness, generosity, benevolence, outpouring of love, selflessness, graciousness, devotion. And we cross this chesed, this lovingkindness, with the other sefirot. And we remember that:
There is generosity in our lovingkindness.
There is restraint in our generosity.
There is compassion in our benevolence.
There is endurance in our outpouring love.
There is simplicity in our selflessness.
There is bonding in our graciousness.
There is nobility in our devotion.
And located elsewhere in our bodies is gevurah: strength, judgement, discipline.
There is benevolence in our discernment.
There is strength in our boundaries.
There is balance in our discipline.
There is eternity in our justice.
There is glory in our might.
There is integrity in our restraint.
There is sovereignty in our strength.
Chesed and gevurah come together, swirling in our heart center in tiferet.
There is lovingkindness in our joy.
There is might in our compassion.
There is beauty in our balance.
There is fortitude in our harmony.
There is splendor in our beauty.
There is foundation in our wholeness.
There is majesty in our resonance.
All of the energy swirls together and then we move to netzach: endurance, striving, perseverance. Where do you feel that? Where do you strive from?
There is devotion in our perseverance.
There is discipline in our persistence.
There is joy in our eternity.
There is perseverance in our ambition.
There is humility in our striving.
There is groundedness in our endurance.
There is authority in our fortitude.
This striving, this netzach, is counterbalanced by hod: glory, splendor, acceptance. See if you can breathe into hod…
There is graciousness in our surrender.
There is boundary in our glory.
There is wholeness in our simplicity.
There is persistence in our humility.
There is surrender in our acceptance.
There is presence in our splendor.
There is creation in our gratitude.
Netzach and hod have a confluence in yesod: our foundation, our groundedness. See if you can feel where in your body the groundedness is. It may be where you are connected to your seat or to the ground. Breathe all the way into that foundation.
There is outpouring love in our bonding.
There is justice in our structure.
There is harmony in our groundedness.
There is striving in our steadiness.
There is gratitude in our foundation.
There is steadiness in our presence.
There is leadership in our integrity.
And finally malchut: the connector between realms, the majesty the crown.
There is selflessness in our majesty.
There is discernment in our leadership.
There is resonance in our creation.
There is ambition in our authority.
There is acceptance in our sovereignty.
There is structure in our nobility.
There is creation in our royalty.
Each of these points along the path, as the realign – day by day by day – deliver us to the foot of the mountain, the place where we prepare to receive Torah, to receive revelation, to receive that which is true.
And we seal this journey with the words of Batya Levine:
May I be empty and open to receive the light, may I be empty and open to receive
May I be full and open to receive the light, may I be full and open to receive. (Listen to her song here.)
May we be empty, allowing spaciousness for movement and receiving.
May we be full and nourished, acting from wholeness.
And may all of that be balanced in the revelation that we receive and in the truth we live out.
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife (she/they) sprinkles sparkles, disrupts expectations, and offers blessings wherever she goes. She serves as Oreget Kehilah (Executive Director) of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, founder/co-leader of Kesher Pittsburgh, Program Director of the ALEPH Kesher Fellowship, Lead Facilitator for Keshet’s GLBTQ+ Jewish Youth of Colour programming and member of the leadership team of the JOC Mishpachah Project. Additionally, she delights in serving as a davennatrix (shlichat tzibbur), life spiral ceremony/ritual creatrix, liturgist, songstress, teacher and public speaker. Her work in these realms is informed by her lived experience as a queer Jewish Woman of Colour and the quandries she encounters as a scholar of the Orphan Wisdom School. Keshira received Kohenet smicha in 2017 and earned her BS 2000 and MS 2001 at Carnegie Mellon University. Dual-citizens of the USA and Australia and avid travelers, she and her beloved are currently leaning into stillness and sheltering-in-peace on Osage and Haudenosaunee land also called Pittsburgh, PA.