Becoming Real: Tazria-Metzorah and Being Velveteen
Day 22 of the Omer

Day 21 of the Omer


Five roads diverged. Eliezer chose the path
of vision. Yehoshua chased friendship.
Yossi wanted to be a good neighbor.
Shimon sought to think ahead. But Elazar
craved a good heart, and their teacher said
I prefer the words of Elazar
because his choice includes all of yours.

A good heart. In gematria, good plus heart
-- seventeen plus thirty-two -- equals 49,
the days of the Omer. Three weeks in:
press a metaphysical stethoscope to your ribs
and listen to the lub-dub of your lev.
Tap with your fingers: is its tough exterior
softening like pliable red wax in the sun?

Can you carve grooves of gratitude, trace
the map of this meditation labyrinth
and leave an imprint? Make runnels in the clay
and see what flows through you. Instilling
a new habit takes a month of practice.
Four weeks remain before it's time to harvest.
What grows inside your four chambers?



Today is the 21st day of the Omer, making three weeks of the Omer. Today is the 21st day of our 49-day journey between Pesach and Shavuot, between liberation and revelation.

Gematria is Jewish number-math. In Hebrew, letters double as numbers, which means that every word also has a numerical meaning.

Lev is the Hebrew word for "heart."

In one Mussar model, today is the day to meditate on the quality of לב טוב, a good heart. That phrase reminded me of a Hasidic teaching about the importance of having a good heart, which I blogged some years ago on Lag b'Omer: The bonfire of the expansive heart.