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Long ago, our rabbis realized that the Torah is very much like a beautiful orchard. From a distance, you may see only a grouping of trees. As you approach, you notice the leaves, the blossoms, and the fruit on the individual trees. When you come even closer, you may see the skin that covers the fruit. If you are persistent and peel back the skin, your reward is a delicious treat. Just like the orchard which at a distance is only a field of trees, concealed there are layers upon layers of wonderful things.
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CATEGORIES: Shabbat Table Talk
This isthe 47th day of the Counting of the Omer represented by Hod of Malchut, "Humility in Nobility."
This is amost interesting day of reflection. Let's change one word of the title to whatit really should be. Malchut is theattribute of God's "sovereignty." The translation of was probablychanged to "nobility" so as not to scare of those who have difficultybelieving in God or that God is ruling over us like a mortal king. But let metake this head on.
To saythat God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor ofall power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart Hispurpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). God's sovereignty in salvation meansthat God saves whomever God wills to save for whatever divine reason that maybe.
In Psalm 103, a magnificent hymn of praise, David praises God for His blessingsand compassion as a loving and forgiving father for his children (vss. 1-18).He concludes with a universal call for praise (vss. 19-22), but he begins thiscall with a declaration of God’s sovereignty (vs. 19) for it is God’ssovereignty that gives Him the absolute freedom to do what He does in Hisblessings and showing compassion to frail and temporal humanity (vss. 15-16).
So,now back to our Omer counting today, Hod of Malchut. Each of these elementsrepresents an attribute of God in us. As a result, we express sovereignty inour lives. That is to say, perhaps at home, at work and in our social relationsthere are times others perceive your authority as near absolute (Psalm 115) andthat you have the capacity to bring blessing, show compassion, and be forgiving(Psalm 103) in all of these three spheres of influence.
Therefore, do you humbly appreciatethis exceptional “gift” you have been given (Humility in Sovereignty)?
Are you arrogant in how you apply yoursovereignty?
How will you be the recipient of David’spraise of God by your being compassionate, loving, and forgiving even to the “frailand temporal humanity” around you?
Categories: Counting the Omer
Tonight begins the 46th day of the Counting of the Omer represented by Netzach of Malchut, "Endurance in Nobility."
The key to success is not just having a good idea and attempting to bring it to fruition. It is having the determination to reach that goal. The world is full of people with good ideas; but it takes a special individual to have the determination to see it through. I could list for you military commanders who remained undeterred by defeat on the battlefield. The greatest inventors are the ones who have tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and failed a thousand times, until at last it worked and made our lives easier because of them. The greatest Civil Rights leader in our nation's history, Martin Luther King, Jr. perhaps had small victories, but it wasn't until decades after his death that others carried the torch of his vision, and today we see greater victories for minorities in this country.
Our nobility, our vision for a greater outcome for our family, our business and our community is a good thing. For without the vision, there is no first step. Then it comes to will and determination (Netzach, "endurance") which reflects the power and the majesty of our human spirit.
Exercise for the day:
Act on something that you believe in but have until now been tentative about. Take the leap and just do it! If you fail, then do it again!
Today is both the 45th day of the Counting of the Omer, Tiferet of Malchut, "Compassion in Nobility."
"Malchut,"- Nobility reflects our sense of belonging. You matter and you make adifference just by living and being in connection with others. When youunderstand that part of who you are is noble, that means that you have thecapacity to have sovereignty and leadership over your environment. Sovereigntyis a state of being rather than one of activity. It is an expression of humandignity and we manifest it by our understanding of the majesty of the humanspirit. We represent that majesty through our understanding that we are areflection of a Higher will which raises us above our carnal desires.
The nextunderstanding is that we can feel that, "I am wanted and needed in thisworld. I will always be able to find a comfortable place where I will always beloved. I have nothing to fear and I feel the royalty in my heart."
Tonightalso begins the new month of Sivan. As we begin this hodesh_, this "month", we hadesh, "begin" a new way of thinking: Compassion in ournobility. We need to gain a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish tohelp them actively overcomes their problems. You should take good care ofothers, be concerned for their welfare, help them, serve them, make morefriends, and make more smiles.
God is referred to in the synagogue services as Ha-rachaman (the compassionate one) andas Av harachamim (Father ofcompassion). Since Judaism teaches that human beings, uniquely created in God’simage (Genesis 1:27), are to imitate God’s positive attributes, we should alsobe compassionate. The Talmud states that Jews are to be rachmanim b’nei rachmanim (compassionate children of compassionateancestors) and that one who is not compassionate cannot truly be of the seed ofAbraham.
Compassionsuspends judgment and takes each circumstance equally -- each as a moment oflife to be lived in its fullness. And so,compassion comes with no preconceptions. It has no attitudes. It has no specialface or tone of voice. It is not bound by rules of behavior, decorum,expectations, though it may be guided by all of these things.
Compassionis prepared to meet others wherever they are, recognizing that the circumstanceor challenge they now face is as much a part of their life as any other part oftheir life. Compassion can laugh or cry, joke or commiserate, be curious andinquisitive, chatty or silent. Compassion is not afraid to be fully present,hopeful, or lighthearted. Compassion does not turn away. It is never afraid tosee beauty or find humor or share a fractured heart.
If more Jews become aware of the many beautiful Jewish teachings on compassionand strived to put them into practice, it would have great potential to helprevitalize Judaism and move our imperiled planet toward a more just, humane,and environmentally sustainable path and toward that time when "no oneshall hurt nor destroy in all of God’s holy mountain" (Isaiah 11:9).
Exercise inCompassion in Nobility
When in a leadership position, be organized,make sure that instructions are clear to subordinates, and curtail any excessesthat take away the dignity of the other.
Behar– The Tender Tongue
“When you sell property to yourneighbor, or buy any from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another (al tonu ish et achiv).” (Lev. 25:14)
“Do not wrong one another (lo tonu ish et amito), but fear yourGod; for I Adonai am your God.” (Lev 25:17)
Rashi (1040-1105): 1sttime: business transaction; 2nd time is harming someone with yourwords.
Rabbi Eliezer (80-118 C.E.): Wrongingsomeone with speech is more serious. Speech affects the very person. Inbusiness wronging another person only affects money, which is easilyrestored. Restoration is notpossible for a wrong done through speech (SeferAggadah 658:186). A Tanna (Mishnah, 10-220 C.E.) taught before Rav Nahmanbar Isaac that one who publicly makes a neighbor blanch from shame is as one whosheds blood. Whereupon Rav Nahman remarked how he had seen the blood rush froma person’s face upon such a shaming (BabaMetzia 58b). Examples:
1. Ifa person is penitent, one should not say to him, “Remember the way you used toact.”
2. If he is a childof a convert, he should not be taunted with “Remember the way your fathersacted.”
3. If he is aconvert who comes to study Torah, one should not say to him, “Shall the mouththat ate unclean and forbidden food, come to study the Torah, which was utteredby the mouth of the Almighty?”
Rabbi Simeon ben Gamliel (10B.C.E. – 70 C.E.) told his servant, Tabbai to go to the marketplace and buygood food. He returned with beef tongue. The rabbi then instructed Tabbai to goto the marketplace and buy bad food. The servant returned with beef tongue.When the rabbi asked Tabbai why he bought tongue both times, he said, “Goodcomes from it and bad comes from it.”
Rabbi Simeon ben Gamliel made afeast of tender tongue and hard tongue for his disciples. When his studentsonly took the tender tongue, Rabbi instructed them, “Look what you are doing –Let your tongues be tender to one another.”
This is the 39th day of the Counting of the Omer represented by Netzach of Yesod, "Endurance in Bonding."
An essential element of bonding to another person in friendship or in marriage is this element of endurance. Life is not a smooth ride. In a relationship you are faced by setbacks and challenges all of the time. How much will you endure and how ready are you will to fight to maintain this bond? And, an interesting question in the back of some of your minds is, "if the person with whom I bond is even aware of my devotion?"
Bonding with someone is not always rosy and romantic. Sometimes it is tricky and exhausting. Sometimes there are disturbances in the give and take of any relationship. That is when resentments rise to the surface and a feeling of disillusionment about the relationship may arise.
This is when working on the Netzach, the "endurance", the "staying power" inside of you needs to take place.
Find this Netzach in the challenges to your bond with another person:
Taken for Granted - You are "at my disposal." There becomes a loss of sensitivity that was found at the beginning of the relationship.
Broken Communication - Over time, there is a loss of curiosity about your partner, leading to a communication gap.
Trust & Understanding - There can be a loss of trust that the other person can make decisions for me.
Insecurity - The actions of the other person leaves you questioning their intentions.
Time and Attention - If you do not give enough attention to the needs and wants of the other person, they will go outside of the relationship to find love and empathy.
EXERCISE: Demonstrate the Netzach, "endurance" level of your bonding by confronting one of these challenges that obstruct the bond.
Introduction to Shabbat Table Talk
Pharaoh and Moses
Apologies to Rabbi Lookstein
Ki Yachol Lah - כי יכול לה
Small Role; Big Impact
In Response to the Orlando Shooting
When Tragedy Strikes
HUC-JIR L'DOR VADOR Gala
The Baal Shem Tov and His Sage
Share Your Stories
Appreciating Everyone's Gifts
Women Named and Unnamed, Beginning a New Year
The Journey that Changed Our World
Give Bigotry and Racism No Quarter
Loving the Stranger and the Estranged
Seeing the Good Land
Pinchas Is Not Our Religious Model
The Jewish View on Marriage Equality: The Jewish Response to the Supreme Court Decision
Adaption from Rabbi Karyn Kedar's, Omer: A Counting.
Hod of Malchut, "Humility in Nobility."
Netzach of Malchut, "Endurance in Nobility"
Compassion in Nobility
Behar– The Tender Tongue
Endurance in Bonding
Let Me Be What I Can Be
Rabbi Leonard Beerman - My Rabbi
Shmitah: A Sabbath for A Year Making a Difference for Your Lives
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