Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 37 of the Omer

Today we consider the Divine Attributes of Gevurah in Y'sod, Restraint in Bonding, as we count the 37th day of the Omer.

I think of the majestic redwoods of the Pacific coast. They are so tall that it is impossible to see their crowns, and some are so big around that a car can drive through the middle. How do water and nutrients climb to the top of these trees? I think of early spring in New England, and the buckets - or plastic tubing - attached to sugar maple trees, catching the rising sap. How does the sap flow against the force of gravity?

The upward flow of water and nutrients is an amazing feat of biological engineering found in all vascular plants, including flowering trees and conifers. The xylem (the wood) is made up of cells connected end-to-end to form long tubes. A major reason the water flows continuously upward through the xylem is that as water molecules evaporate from the leaves, the water in the xylem is pulled upward to take the place of those evaporated molecules, and thus it continues on and on in a continuous stream. Forces of binding hold the water molecules together with such strength that they keep on rising, always able to resist the force of garvity.

What forces of binding and bonding hold us to those we love and care for, despite other forces that could break apart our bonds? What is it that restrains those forces that could break our bonds? What is it that keeps us in powerful connection, what causes our bonds with the Divine to remain strong, despite pulls and tugs that would turn us away? Our restraint, our ability to resist the forces that would pull us away from our journey with and toward the Divine keeps our bonds, and our hearts, intact.

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 thirty-seven days which is five weeks and two days of the Omer.

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