This week's portion: Caretaker (Behar)
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Day 26 of the Omer: humility in endurance

Image by Pauline Frankenberg, from her series of 49 images for Counting the Omer.

Well, I broke my streak. I blogged about the counting of the Omer on the first day of the first week, the day of lovingkindness within the week of lovingkindness. During week two, I blogged on day two, the day of strength/boundary squared. During week three, I blogged on day three, compassion/harmony squared. To keep the pattern going, I should have blogged about the Omer earlier today, which was day four of week four, the day of netzach (endurance, fortitude, ambition) during the week of netzach.

Instead, here I am on the 26th day of the Omer, the day of hod she'b'netzach: humility in endurance.

"Buildings and bridges are made to bend in the wind / to withstand the world, that's what it takes," sings Ani di Franco. (I've probably just dated myself with that quote, eh? I hadn't listened to Out of Range in years, though I'm adding it to my iTunes library now...) She's on to something. We're deep in the week of netzach, endurance: inner strength, the ability to stand firm despite whatever winds of emotion or fortune may be blowing. But what really endures is what stands firm and humble at the same time.

Hod of netzach is the humble recognition and acknowledgment that the capacity to endure and prevail comes from the soul that G-d gave each person. This humility does not compromise the drive of endurance; on the contrary, it intensifies it, because human endurance can only go so far and endure only so much, whereas endurance that comes from the Divine soul is limitless.

That's Rabbi Simon Jacobson in היום יום אחד: A Spiritual Guide to the Counting of the Omer, which I've been unfolding like the world's slowest flip book over the weeks of the Omer count so far. I like the way he understands the unique combination of qualities that permeate this day.

And what he describes resonates strongly with me as Ethan continues the work of recovery. Endurance is definitely required; we learned yesterday from his doctors that they simply do not know when he'll have vision in that eye again. It may be a matter of weeks, it may be a matter of months -- they can't tell us.

But endurance alone won't cut it. This isn't something one can just tough out. We need the humility of recognizing that this isn't within our control. All we can do is face what arises, knowing that the healing will happen in its own time.



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