Lag B’Omer: A Fire Uncontained

The following video was made to mark the 33rd day of the Omer.

Constructed out of handwritten letters, the ל and ג emerge out of a bonfire, deconstruct into individual letter logs.

It is said that we celebrate Lag B’Omer for many reasons, including marking the end of a plague that decimated 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva, that befell them because they did not respect one another.

This 33rd day of the omer corresponds to the kabbalistic value of hod within hod, humility within humility.

It is not enough to study humility. Rather to know it, we must practice it, be consumed by it. We must refuse to believe that there is a scarcity of love in the world, or that there is a scarcity of Torah. Or a scarcity of water. Or room to live and be free. We must resist the feeling to own and control.

Glory for the sake of Torah, for the sake of love, will come if we do not steer it, make ourselves big and authoritative and unable to engage.

As a student of sofrut (scribal arts), I am learning to construct the letters stroke by stroke by ink splotch by splintered quill. I am constantly humbled by the magnitude and mystery of the work before me. The power in the letters themselves has become clearer and clearer to me as I learn how to craft them, feel in awe of the fire created by human hands in divine work.

It is not enough to know the letters, we must be consumed by them. Not steer them, but be steered by them. There is lifesaving potential in humility.

It is from that awe that we can begin to construct, to see the individual letters and logs as they build out Torah. That is the Torah that cannot be contained.

[Gratitude to my teacher, Soferet Linda Coppleson, and friend and artist Zoe Cohen.]

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