Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 16 of the Omer

On this sixteenth day of counting the Omer we focus on Gevurah in Tiferet - Restraint in Harmony.

Wetlands help maintain balance and harmony in natural world. These are places we can't readily walk through because they are just too wet: swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas. At the conservation area near my home, walkway over a marsh and the stream that flows through it makes it possible to be in the midst of the wetland. The walkway protects the marsh from tramping feet sinking into the mud, and it protects our feet, keeping them dry. From the walkway skunk cabbages can be seen in late winter and early spring, delicate blue forget-me-nots later on, and in mid-summer, the orange flowers of jewelweed. 

Wetlands serve a myriad of purposes in the water cycle. They filter the water, thereby protecting and improving water quality, they provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and they absorb great amounts of water during rainstorms and spring snow melt. By holding the water within them, wetlands reduce flooding and maintain the water supply during dry periods. The restraint, or holding, of the water by the wetlands keeps the water supply to the natural world in balance. 

Sometimes we, too, need to exercise restraint in order to maintain a balance in our world. In the natural world, too much water causes floods and too little causes droughts. In our lives, too much of any good thing can cause a veritable flood: too much eating, too many hours of staying awake at a time, too much exercise after a long period of inactivity, pushing ourselves to do too much, talking too much, etc., etc., etc. Let us exercise restraint in our lives and by doing so maintain a healthy balance that allows our personal spiritual and emotional ecosystems to thrive.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam, asher kid-shanu b'mitzvotav, vitzivanu, al sefirat ha'omer.

Blessed are you Adonai our G!d, ruler of the universe, who sanctifies us with mitzvot and commands us regarding the counting of the Omer.

Today is sixteen days which is two weeks and two days of the Omer.

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