Tonight begins day 48, six weeks and six days of the OmerFrom the second day of Passover until Shavuot, Jews count seven weeks – seven times seven days – to commemorate the period between the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation at Sinai. When the Temple stood, a certain measure (omer) of barley was offered on the altar each day; today, we merely count out the days., the gate of Yesod sh’ b’Malchut. We are getting to the bottom of it, the very foundation of majesty, how we are held up, supported by our relationships, our abilities to bond. We come to know and value ourselves in relationship. There is no getting away from that. We are born into families of one kind or another, requiring intimacy to know ourselves, nourishment to grow. Our sovereignty is predicated upon how we are in connection to our parents and grandparents, siblings, neighbors, friends, lovers, partners, brothers and sisters in community…
Often, in our first families, we do not getA writ of divorce. Traditionally, only a man can grant his wife a get. Liberal Jews have amended this tradition, making divorce more egalitarian. what we need in the way we need to flourish readily. Something goes wrong in the little basket of beings we are born into. We are sent down the river alone, or so it seems. We cannot seem to find our way, and we go about the world sucking up what passes for nourishment wherever we come upon it. I have lived like this, and I have had some help learning to live otherwise. I wrote this poem in my young womanhood, responding to the well-timed question of a skilled and compassionate healer.
A Different Dream
Would you like to have a different dream?
The dream that you have
all the love from your father that you want
and all the love from your mother that you want
the dream that you have both your mother and your father
all you want
the dream that you don’t have to choose?
The dream that your father
knows how to love you
with the full and sensitive love
of a man who loves his life
is the exact measure of his kindness
his urge to be useful
his love of people and of touch
of humor and of strong feeling
a man who dreamed
that he had the love
of both his mother and his father
all that he wanted
and so was able to love his daughter
all that he wanted
all that she wanted.
And no one was frightened
no one was scared away
not even your mother
because she also had the dream
the dream in which everyone was powerful
and no one was afraid of the power of women
no one was afraid of the power of little girls
the dream in which everyone was sexual
everyone was in love with each other
and all they fought
was that which imprisoned them
that which kept them apart.
Would you like that dream?
Well, then, here it is.
As prophets, as speakers and singers of truth, we are bearers of this dream, guiding ourselves and one another toward a new territory, the promised land, the one in which we live together in love. As leaders, let us continue to help each other along. Let us open our mouths and proclaim: The dream is real. The land is here. It belongs to all of us. Now.
From Through the Gates: A Practice for Counting the Omer. Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).