Day 2 of the Omer
Day 4 of the Omer

Day 3 of the Omer




Abraham was a softie:
tent open on all sides,
offering kisses on both cheeks.
Always handing out thimbles
of cardamom-scented coffee.

He listened to everyone
including his wife who said
get that woman's son out of here
including that Voice which said
take your son, your only son

whom you love. Anything
worth doing was worth overdoing.
The line between unchanneled love
and zealotry is thinner
than a hair resting on milk.


Isaac didn't overflow
like his father. He withdrew.
Bound to obedience, bound
to the sticks of wood he himself
had carried, bound to become

an entirely different man --
Isaac dug wells with precision,
rigid passages through which
life-giving waters might flow.
Isaac closed his eyes.

When his wife persuaded
their son to dress in sheepskin
and pretend, Isaac knew his role.
He stayed in-character.
He blessed and he wept.


Third generation integrates
old country and new,
Grandpa's ebullience
and Dad's severity.
Jacob balanced with angels

on the head of a pin.
He watched them climb
and descend, climb and descend
like the prayers we loft,
the answers we rarely hear.

He met his brother again
with trepidation.
He didn't expect to say
seeing your face
is like seeing the face of God.


Let your cup run over,
compassion spilling
like an endless fountain.
Trust the kindness of strangers.
Open the tent of your heart.

Know when to pull back,
how to accept the things
you cannot change.
How to yield with grace.
When to close your eyes.

Rest your head on the stones
and dream. When you wake, sing
God was in this place, and I --
I did not know. Receive the name
of who you will become.


Today (the day ending at sundown on Tuesday) is the third day of the Omer, the 49-day journey between Pesach and Shavuot, liberation and revelation.

One way of understanding the Omer journey is through the lens of the kabbalistic teaching that each week of the Omer, and each day within each week, correlates with a different divine quality. The first quality is chesed, lovingkindness. The second is gevurah, boundaried strength. The third is tiferet, harmony or balance. The tradition maps these qualities to the first three Biblical patriarchs, so Abraham manifested chesed; Isaac manifested gevurah; Jacob manifested tiferet.

According to that kabbalistic lens, today is the day of tiferet she'b'chesed, the day of balance within the week of lovingkindness.

What draws you, in these evocations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Where do you see yourself? What's familiar, and what's foreign to you? On this third day of the Omer, how can you manifest balance within abundant love?