day 16 of Omer HaTeshuvah begins the evening of September 2, 2020 (14 Elul)
qualities of focus: Gevurah (Discipline, Strength) within Tiferet (Beauty, Balance).
the practice of Omer HaTeshuvah
Read, say, or chant any or all of the following:
Tonight begins Day 16 of Omer HaTeshuvah, of counting down the days as we turn towards Rosh HaShanah. It’s the sixth day of the fifth week.
Echad, yachid, u-m’yuchad. Echad, yachid, u-m’yuchad.
One, only One, all together One. (English from Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi, z’l.)
One, every single One, each one joined and united with the One. (English source unknown.)
poetic meditations to help on your journey
Here are two poetic offerings to help with today’s journey.
other practices you might try
- Consider the questions, feelings or thoughts that arise as you read today’s meditation and journal what comes up for you.
- Chant the words “gevurah b’tiferet” (Discipline and Strength within Beauty and Balance). Use any melody or chanting modality that works for you.
- Sit quietly and notice your breathing. As you consider the qualities associated with this day, notice what comes up in your body. Breathe into any areas that need attention, letting out unneeded tension as you exhale.
- Stand, sit, walk, or look outside, and notice where can sense the Shekhina’s enduring presence, the enduring nature of Life.
- You might also like to try using this kabbalistic verse about unity and unification. “L’shem yichud kudsha brichu u-shechinteh,l’shem yichud kudsha brichu u-shechinteh. For the sake of Holy Blessed One-ness, unifying with Shekhinah, Divine Presence in our lives.”
- Invoke the name of God using the pronunciation of each Hebrew letter of the four-letter Name Y-H-V-H. It goes like this. “Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei.“
more about this day
The sixth day of the week is focused on Gevurah (Discipline, Strength). It’s also about nurturing healthy boundaries in our relationships so that we can love ourselves and others well. And it’s about finding strength in each other.
The fifth week of Omer HaTeshuvah is focused on Tiferet (Beauty and Balance). It’s about noticing where we find these, and how we can nurture them in ourselves, in others, and in our world. In kabbalah, Tiferet is also about balancing open-hearted love (Chesed) with discipline and healthy boundaries (Gevurah).
I haven’t talked about it on the blog much yet, but Tiferet is also about finding and nurturing a sense of harmony. Musical harmony is an example. Harmonious relationships or interactions is another.
Each sefirah (Divine aspect) that we explore in Omer HaTeshuvah contains within it all the others as well, and each is an aspect of God. Today, Gevurah is expressed through Tiferet.
the turning of Elul
We’re also in the month of Elul, the month right before Rosh HaShanah. The energy of teshuvah (turning towards our most loving and beloved selves) increases during Elul, and we’re reminded to engage in a process of reckoning and forgiveness – with others, with God, and within ourselves.
As we do the sometimes difficult work of acknowledging what we’d like to repair, or heal, or shift, whether in ourselves or in our relationships with others, it’s easy to beat ourselves up. But teshuvah, I believe, is fundamentally about Love, including self-love. That’s why so many of the poems found on the blog during this time focus on love, healing, and relationship.
Reckoning and forgiveness can be difficult. Teshuvah focuses us on ways we’ve missed the mark with others, and ways we’ve been hurt by others. But it reminds us and gives us an opportunity to mend our relationships and refine our skillfulness. It’s about how we act, not who we are. This reckoning, this teshuvah, is about focusing our attention on how we can do better.
the bottom line for today
The bottom line for today is this. As you move through Elul, consider how you might engage the quality of Gevurah in yourself for the sake of teshuvah, for reckoning or forgiveness. Imagine the potential for Balance.
make a donation
You may be receiving this post because you signed up for the class Omer HaTeshuvah: Turning Together towards a New Year. This program is being co-sponsored with Rapha: The Center for Healing and Spirituality. Please consider making a donation to support the work of Rapha and of Rabbi Shifrah.