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Counting the Omer: Hod

Hod holds many attributes, often described as splendor, majesty, glory, grandeur, vigor, and more. Last year, my friend Rabbi Ezra Weinberg wrote about the aspect of hod that has to do with “submission.” He opened up a whole new world of “hod” for me that I want to explore as we count the omer this year. Submission as a value can be off-putting and seem counter-intuitive. I want to see myself as strong, and as fighting the good fights, not as submitting. It’s easy to associate “submission” with weakness. But this “submission” of hod turns out to be a different kind of strength, possibly a deeper strength. If netzach brings the endurance to prevail over the things we need to overcome, hod brings the grace to let go of contending and to lean into what is. By aligning ourselves with and by submitting to what is, we can free up energy and power for the true path.

Our Muslim siblings have much to teach us about submitting to What Is. The words “Muslim” and “Islam” are often said to refer to submission to G-d. The words share the Arabic root that in Hebrew gives us the family of words related to “shalom.” The relationship between “submission” and “peace/wholeness” is compelling. What is it like to submit to What Is–to the What Is of the universe, to the What Is of G-d?. It’s a giving over of ourselves and our will to the larger whole of Life. It’s a recognition that we belong to something greater than our own selves. To submit to that—to let go and allow ourselves to fall into the Is-ness that manifests as starlight and eucalyptus leaf and melody—is to touch a peace and a homecoming and a wholeness that cannot be found in any victory.

During the week of hod, we’ll explore different aspects of submission as hod meets up with each of the other sefirot. We’ll experiment with practices to help us touch this mysterious path to liberation and peace.

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