Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 29 of the Omer

During this fifth week of counting the Omer, Hod, or Humility is the Divine Attribute that travels with us all week. As we have each week, we begin with Chesed or Lovingkindness.

The ground beneath our feet provides the inspiration for us this week. Whether rock or soil or sand or mud, all are related, and all these materials cycle continuously from one form to another. Rocks - sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic - are broken down by water, wind, growing plants, chemical reactions, and other forces. Large rocks break up into smaller rocks, which break into even smaller rocks, and eventually into small pebbles, grains of sand, or even finer, into mud. Wind and water carry these particles from one place to another. Tiny particles are compacted and cemented together to form sedimentary rocks, which are changed by heat and pressure into metamorphic rocks, which may melt and then cool into igneous rocks, which, under conditions of heat and pressure, become metamorphic rocks. All three kinds are broken down again, and the cycle goes on, in so many variations and permutations, throughout time.

Moving rocks and mud and sand make up the crust of the Earth on which we stand. How often do we notice them? They are voiceless. Their role is great, but they do not speak, except in the sound of being tumbled by gravity or moving water or wind. 

How often do we listen to the silence of the rocks? How often do we hear their presence?

Are we willing to be so silent? What does it take to be kind to a rock, or to the soil? Can our hearts be so open as to realize their importance? 

During an avalanche or an earthquake, we are frightened by the solid Earth. We notice the rocks and soil. On the shores of the sea, we enjoy the tiny, tiny rocks. We notice the sand. What about the rest of the time? At every moment of every day, the solid rock beneath our feet is holding up our homes and our streets and our airports and our trains and our hospitals and our offices and our electrical poles, and so much more. It is a kindness without intentionality. The rocks have no awareness of what they are doing. 

Would that we, too, could be kind 24/7/365 without thinking or being aware of it. That would truly be Lovingkindness in Humility.

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 twenty-nine days which is four weeks and one day of the Omer.

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