day 49 of Omer HaTeshuvah begins the evening of July 31, 2020 (11 Av)
qualities of focus: Malkhut / Shekhina (Divine Presence)
the practice of Omer HaTeshuvah
Read, say, or chant any or all of the following:
Today, as Tisha B’av ends, it is 50 days until Rosh HaShana, marking Day 49 of Omer HaTeshuvah, the practice of mindfully turning toward a new year.
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.
The first is a meditation on the quality of malkhut as nobility, and what that might mean in our lives.
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, with the Divine, for the sake of tikkun olam (healing and transformation of the world).
other practices you might try
- Consider the questions posed in today’s meditation, and journal what comes up for you.
- Chant the words “malkhut /shekhina” using 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, or look outside, and notice where you find a sense of Divine Presence.
- 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 YHVH. It goes like this. “Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei.”
like the idea of holding a book in your hand?
You might be interested in Rabbi Shifrah’s collection Omer/Teshuvah: 49 Poetic Meditations for Counting the Omer or Turning Toward a New Year. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy!
more about this day
Through a Kabbalistic lens, today is focused on Malkhut (Sovereignty), which is also Shekhina (Divine Presence.) It’s about our intimate felt sense of the Divine in our lives.
Now, I have to admit, when I first tried to think about God as malkhut (sovereignty), I got pretty stuck. The word malkhut is from the same word root as melekh, meaning king. So Who or What exactly is it that’s thought to have Sovereignty?
And why would I, a democracy loving, hierarchy defying, LGBTQ feminist embrace the idea of godliness as being associated with royalty?
Even now, many years later, I still tend to change the words of traditional prayers, substituting the word Melekh (King) for Ruach (Spirit). This is the word used for God in the morning prayer of gratitude (modeh ani), in which we refer to the Divine as Ruach Chai, the Spirit of Life.
But I’ve also come to appreciate that our Jewish ancestors, who often faced brutality and oppression at the hands of monarchs, were saying with this God-language that there was no human ruler to whom they were beholden in the way they were to YHVH (Adonai), their God.
If we think of the Shekhina as Divine energies weaving their way through our lives, a cosmic life-giving wellspring, our awareness of the Divinity of All Life becomes both a humbling and an empowering prospect, one that might bring us to our knees with awe, but might also call us into action, or calm us into stillness. Something we might perceive as noble.
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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.