COUNTING THE OMER – This prayer is traditionally recited between sundown and sunrise of each day.
Day 12: Hod she b’Gevurah
The Blessing (Day 12):
Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sephirat ha’omer.
Blessed are you, G-D, Source of Strength, You make us holy through your mitzvot, commanding us to count the Omer.
Ha yom shnaim asar yom, shehem shavuah echad v chamisha yamim l’Omer. Today is the twelfth day of the Omer, which makes one week and five days of the Omer.
Week Two – Gevurah (Discernment, Restraint, Strength)
Day Twelve – Hod she b’Gevurah (Splendor within Discernment) – LEFT HIP to LEFT SHOULDER
Hod she b’Gevurah expresses radiance through firmness. These are qualities such as we encounter in wise elders, in works of art whose beauty seems eternal, in impressive mountains, in the abiding truth of cultural traditions, and inside ourselves when we are clear and strong about our spiritual connection.
As we currently observe Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day (4/20/20 evening into 4/21/20 day), we remember the splendor that has been lost along with those millions of lives. The knowledge and memories that have gone with those who perished should be considered as we commit ourselves to vigilantly combating injustice in all its forms. We are grateful to be alive, to savor precious memories, and to focus on creating new ones. We cannot recreate the Splendor that is gone, but we can preserve and honor what we remember, battle intolerance, and live honorable lives while working to build a society based on justice.
It is interesting to me that in Israel, this day is called Yom HaShoah v’HaGevurah – Holocaust and Heroism Day, the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and for Acts of Courage (Resistance/Strength).
What a fitting day this is for us to consider Hod she b’Gevurah, the Splendor within Strength. We recall those who fought back by using discernment and resistance during this terrible period of our history.
Last week, we pondered the positioning of Hod in the Left Pillar (Pillar of Severity), just below Gevurah. As we considered with Gevurah, in a society where most people are right-handed, the left side of the body is sometimes considered vulnerable. However, as we contemplate the Left Pillar, we find that it is a path of radiant strength. Our apparent vulnerabilities are often secret strengths, and those who triumph through the power of truth & honesty are celebrated as the unexpected heroes of Glory and Splendor.
Hod is also considered not just as Splendor, but also as Humility and Awe. Most of us have pondered the meaning of life at some point, and many of us may have considered it often as we find our place in society. Our consideration of what life truly is about may change as we move from teenager to adult, from single to married to parent, from student to teacher. Regardless, we consider the splendid variety available to us in this complex universe. With Humility and Awe today, and as we remember the Holocaust, let us spend a few minutes considering again, in gratitude and appreciation, the amazing universe we inhabit together, and the Strength we draw from it and from each other.
*Much of today’s email has come from and been inspired by Rabbi Min Kantrowitz’s amazing book “Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide”