COUNTING THE OMER – This prayer is traditionally recited between sundown and sunrise of each day.
Day 22: Chesed she b’Netzach
The Blessing (Day 22):
Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sephirat ha’omer.
Blessed are you, G-D, Source of Endurance, You make us holy through your mitzvot, commanding us to count the Omer.
Hayom shnaim v’esrim yom, shehem shlosha shavuot v yom echad l’Omer.
Today is the twenty-second day, which makes three weeks and one day of the Omer
Week Four – Netzach (Endurance, Perserverance, Continual Energy)
Today begins a new week of the Counting of the Omer, one that is associated with Netzach, the energy of persistence and endurance. At this time, many of us may be struggling to continue with the count of the Omer. It is like the Wednesday or Hump Day of our practice, where the novelty has worn off, but the end is not visible yet. It is perfect that this week we will concentrate on Netzach, on endurance and perseverance, as we may need to push through this middle time of our 49 day count. The energy of Netzach is constant, forceful, enduring; it is the kind of energy we need to overcome obstacles. Netzach energy is not random, but rather it is organized toward a particular goal. This energy (Netzach) is in full force whenever we are called upon to meet the challenge presented to us with confidence and calm.
Day Twenty-two: Chesed she b’Netzach (Lovingkindness within Endurance) – RIGHT SHOULDER to RIGHT HIP
Chesed she b’Netzach is energy infused with love. Many of us know well the phrase that is repeated 26 times in Psalm 136 – “G-d’s mercy endures forever.” As we are created in G-D’s image, we are inspired and committed to tikkun olam, improving the world. This work requires a lot of Enduring stamina. When this energy is powered by Love and Kindness, it keeps us going, even when we hit difficult times.
With one of my careers having been in the health profession, I have seen first hand the perserverance and endurance of some of our medical professionals to carry on through both dangerous and exhausting situations. Being in the hospital with many of these workers, I’ve seen what it takes to give your own energy, fueled by compassion, to another human being. I’ve watched nurses pull double shifts to care for a person who is in crisis. I’ve watched doctors head back into the operating room after a full day of work to perform an unexpected surgery to save a person’s life. And I’ve constantly been in awe of our first responders, the EMTs and paramedics who provide emergency support in what are not always the cleanest of environments, from helping someone who collapsed on a dirty street of a city to seeing them work amidst the chaos of a tragedy such as an earthquake or a bombing. Right now, our healthcare workers are being pushed to the limit to care for the continued emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and it is Chesed she b’Netzach that they will draw upon to perservere with compassion.
Not all of us will be called upon to endure through such extreme experiences. But, we all have moments in our lives when we know that Chesed has fueled us through Netzach to carry on and endure. A parent who stays up for hours in the middle of the night to soothe a colicky infant, or the exhausted caregiver who is fueled by love to endure helping an ailing family member in their time of crisis, or even the underpaid and under-appreciated teacher who continues to give his energy to students who are distracted and sometimes rude. Chesed feeds Netzach to energize us when we have little rest or reinforcement, insufficient support, or lack of appropriate recognition, so we can carry on working toward a better world. May we all find ourselves open to this extra boost of energy when we need it most, and use it to repair the world.