New prayers for b'nai mitzvah at Ritualwell
Day 47 of the Omer

Day 46 of the Omer


Imagine a four-day calendar.
Four empty rectangles waiting.
Now add an overlay blazoned
with the four letters of the Name

we never pronounce, or maybe
we whisper it with every breath.
Make the letters bold, great
calligraphc slashes of ink.

Today is the י, the seed
from which the rest of the Name
grows, the still point
before breath, the pregnant pause.

Tomorrow the first ה, inbreath
filling the lungs with spirit
which hovered once over the face
of the waters at the beginning

of time. Then the ו, lungs full,
divine flow down the straight chute
into creation. Finally another ה,
breathing out, returning spirit

to the One from Whom it came.
The head, the two arms, the spine,
the two legs: that Name fits
on the human body as though

we were made for it -- or from it.
Four letters hinting at the whole
of space and time, Was-Is-Will-Be.
Four days to embody those letters

before the download
before the fire and the thunder
before the still small voice
before we're opened up to receive.



Today is the 46th day of the Omer, making six weeks and four days of the Omer. Today is the 46th day of our 49-day journey between Pesach and Shavuot, liberation and revelation.

When I thought about the fact that there are four more days of the Omer, I immediately thought of one of Judaism's most prominent fours, the Four-Letter Name (sometimes called in English the Tetragrammaton; called in Hebrew the Shem Meforash.) That's what sparked today's poem.

The idea that we speak this Name with every breath comes from Rabbi Arthur Waskow. (See his Why YAH/YHWH.)