After sundown on Tuesday, April 23 we recite:
(Traditional) Baruch ata Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam asher kid’shanu b-mitz’votav v-tzivanu ahl s’firat ha-omer.
(Feminized) Aht brucha Shechina eloheynu chey ha-olamim asher kidash’tanu b-mitz’voteyha v-tziv’tanu ahl s’firat ha-omer.
We bless the Source of time and space that summons us to holy action and instructs us on the counting of the omer.
Today is 29 days of the Omer, which is 4 weeks, the day of Chesed
sheh b- Hod.
Hod: Practicing Submission, yes, Submission in the Fifth Week
Introduction to the Week of Hod
Maybe this has happened to you, too: it’s nighttime and I’m far from home, far from the city. I go out into the dark night and the sky is clear. Looking up, I feel myself standing in the center of a vast dome filled with stars. I remember that what looks like a dome is really infinite space. I remember that what look like stars are also other galaxies, each filled with millions of stars, thousands of light years away, their light reaching me from a past more ancient than I can imagine. I remember that our sun is just a tiny ember, our earth just a particle of dust. So what does that make me? And just as I’m about to dissolve into complete nothingness and disappear, something stirs in me. Almost imperceptibly I’m swept up into the expanse, aware of my oneness with it, made holy by its holiness, made grand by its grandeur. Humbled and ennobled at once, contracting into a nano-speck only to find myself expanding into the all. It’s a moment, and it passes.
I wonder if this is a way to touch the idea of Hod, of the splendor of the Infinite hidden in the center of submission, the heart-opening that accompanies humility in the face of loving, generous authority. As Netzah lets us explore the force of will, desire, endurance, persistence, Hod invites us into letting go, giving over, being a vessel of for a will other than our own.
Working with Hod as Submission
This week, we devote ourselves to holy submission. Held and guided by the week’s path through the seven lower sefirot, we can experiment with what may feel like a strange and unwelcome—even a dangerous—move: giving over our power and authority, submitting to the will of another.
To whose will should we submit?
Here, we have some options. It may be to G-d’s will. Or to the will of a trusted teacher, healer, guide, lover or other source of human authority. It may be that today, we submit to the will of who we were yesterday.
Choose a Daily Practice for the Week of Hod
Pick something that you’d like to work with this week to explore submission. You might explore submitting to G-d through the practice of a daily mitzvah. Or submitting to yourself through a daily practice or discipline you’ve been drawn to: exercise, writing, being in nature, meditating, praying, listening deeply to someone you love, committing to a healthy bedtime or wake-up time. Or submitting to the guidance of a teacher or healer or friend through the daily practice of something they’ve recommended for you.
Each day as we engage in this activity or practice through submission, we’ll bring the energy and quality of the day’s sephirah to our exploration.
Each day’s kavannah will include a brief prayer, using the name, Ribbono Shel Olam (Master of the Universe), to address the Mystery. This name reminds us that we are not the Master, and so itself is part of our practice. Notice your response to saying the words, Ribbono Shel Olam.
In letting go and giving over, may we begin to touch the majesty, the splendor of Hod!
We begin with compassion. It’s not easy, this practice. Whatever arises, we welcome it without judgment. Today, we practice submission with gentle, loving compassion.
Ribbono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, today I step into the experience of submitting, letting go, giving over. Help me to bring compassion and love to my practice of letting go. May my practice today be of service to You and to Your Creation.
YHVH, our Master, We hear Your name in the majesty of the earth, we see You in the splendor (hod) of the stars!
יְהֹוָ֤ה אֲדֹנֵ֗ינוּ מָֽה־אַדִּ֣יר שִׁ֭מְךָ בְּכָל־הָאָ֑רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־תְּנָ֥ה ה֝וֹדְךָ֗ עַל־הַשָּׁמָֽיִם
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