Countdown to Rosh HaShana: Day 43

day 43 of Omer HaTeshuvah begins the evening of August 6, 2020 (17 Av)

qualities of focus: Malkhut / Shekhina (Divine Presence) and Chesed (Loving Kindness)

This week of Omer HaTeshuvah is focused on Malkhut/Shekhina (Divine Presence). (Image by Marlene Burns, copyright 2020. All rights reserved. art-marleneburns)

the practice of Omer HaTeshuvah

Read, say, or chant any or all of the following:

This is Day 43 of Omer HaTeshuvah, of counting down the days as we turn towards Rosh HaShana.

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.)

Rabbi Shifrah’s 49 poetic meditations for counting the Omer or Omer HaTeshuvah.

poetic meditations to help on your journey

Here are two poetic offerings to help with today’s journey.

The first is a meditation on the qualities of Loving Kindness and Divine Presence. It’s about nourishing kindness, towards ourselves, towards others, and in our world. And it’s about utilizing the spiritual tools of all the qualities we’re exploring on the Omer HaTeshuvah journey.

The second is a prayer to the Shekhina. This is a prayer for our better selves to prevail. It’s about our collective co-creation of tikkun olam (healing and transformation of the world), for the sake of Holy Blessed One-ness.

other practices you might try

  1. Consider the questions, feelings or thoughts that arise as you read today’s meditation, and journal what comes up for you.
  2. Chant the words “chesed b’malkhut” using any melody or chanting modality that works for you.
  3. 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.
  4. Stand, sit, walk, or look outside, and notice where you find a sense of Divine Presence.
  5. 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.”
  6. 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.
Evoking the kabbalistic Tree of Life during Omer HaTeshuvah

more about this day

Today is about Chesed (Loving Kindness), and Malkhut (Sovereignty). Malkhut is also Shekhina (Divine Presence.)

On the kabbalistic Tree of Life, each of the qualities we explore in Omer HaTeshuvah is called a sefirah (plural sefirot). These include Malkut/Shekhina (Divine Presence), Yesod (Connection/Foundation), Hod (Splendor / Humility), Netzach (Endurance), Tiferet (Balance / Harmony /Beauty), Gevurah (Strength/ Discipline/Boundary), and Chesed (Loving Kindness).

Each of the sefirot also contains within it all the others. This is mirrored in the idea that each day of the week is associated with a particular sefirah, as is each week. So throughout the Omer HaTeshuvah period, we focus on 49 interactions of kabbalistic chemistry.

Today is focused on Chesed, which is about open-heartendess. Paired with the discipline of Gevurah, it allows for the balance of Tiferet to fully emerge.

Malkhut/Shekhina, a quality we’ve focused on all this week, is about Divine Presence, and about nurturing presence in ourselves – presence to suffering, to joy, to injustice, to hope, to destruction, to creativity – to all that life puts in front of us.

Shekhina is also the Divine Feminine, which has often been hidden or obscured from view through much of patriarchal history. Some have been reclaiming the Divine Feminine in Judaism in recent decades, since modern feminism came on the scene. A prominent example of this is found in the work of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute.

The bottom line for today is this – be kind to yourself and others. That’s it.

Rabbi Shifrah (right) and her wife Ruth communing with the Shekhina in red rock country.

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.

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About Rabbi Shifrah


I’m a rabbi, holistic teacher, interfaith chaplain, end of life doula, and poet. I have a healer’s spirit, and am dedicated to social, economic, and environmental justice. I live in Emeryville, CA with my beloved wife Ruth, with whom I’ve been happily partnered for over twenty-two years.

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