Omer Day Six: Locating our Foundation
21 Nisan 5780
Wednesday 15 April 2020
Our practice today comes from Rabbi Mira Rivera, Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellow at Romemu: On this 6th day of counting of the Omer, we contemplate YESOD SHE’BA’HESED, “foundation” that is grounded in “Kindness”. Day 6 of the Omer is also the 7th night of Passover, when the opening to the sea beckons and we commemorate crossing the Sea of Reeds.
In a midrash from Megillah 10B, the Rabbis imagined the angels to be so giddy with joy that they wanted to declare, to say a song.
ואמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב (שמות יד, כ) ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה אמ הקב”ה מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה
And similarly, Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And the one came not near the other all the night” (Exodus 14:20)? The ministering angels wanted to sing their song, for the angels would sing songs to each other, as it states: “And they called out to each other and said” (Isaiah 6:3), but the Holy One, Blessed be He, said: The work of My hands, the Egyptians, are drowning at sea, and you wish to say songs? This indicates that G!d does not rejoice over the downfall of the wicked.
☀️Omer Day 6 practice [21 Nisan 5780 | Wednesday 15 April 2020] ☀️
- We find foundation in all the four directions and all its permutations.
- Sing in a melody of your choosing, or say the words to yourself.And/Or Dance while singing the words. It could be: Step Right foot out, then tap Left big toe to the back of the Right foot, then step Left foot out, tap Right big toe to the back of Left foot.
- Start facing front, sing the words for the front-facing direction until nourished, then turn to the right and continue.
- Full song lyrics in practice notes.
- Space to dance
✨Practice Notes ✨
- We sing these words first facing FRONT, wherever is the starting point.
- “The angels of the heavenly court wanted to sing their song: Bikshu Malachei Hasharet lomar shirah
- Keep repeating until you are satisfied with filling this direction with this intention. Turn to the next direction.
- (Turning to your) Right – choose another melody or stay with the same melody – continue dancing
- And they called out to each other – ve’kara zeh el zeh ve’amar (x4)
- (Turning to the opposite direction of starting point) Back
- The Holy One Blessed Be said, “The work of my hands are drowning at sea
- Amar HaKadosh Baruch Hu: Maaseh yadei tov-in bayam
- Omeret Beruchah Hi: Maaseh yadei tov-in beyam
- The Holy One Blessed Be said “The work of my hands are drowning at sea
- Keep turning to the next side of the square, and stay here singing and dancing:
- And you wish to say this song, and you wish to say thIs song
- Let me get this straight, you wish to say this song
- Ve-atem omrim shirah, ve-atem omrim shirah (x2)
🎧 LISTEN TO RABBI MIRA (vocals) with Jerry Korman (percussion) 🎧
Add-on! Optional Immersion Practice
As this day commemorates the Israelites’ Crossing the Sea of Reeds, we therefore combine inspiration from Yesod within Chesed — foundation or connection within lovingkindess — with the symbolic birth story of the Jewish people for today’s practice: the mivkah.
Mikvah is a ritual immersion in water. Most folks are not likely to have access to a fully traditional mikvah right now (though if you do have a natural body of water close enough to use, please do!). So we do what our people have done for millennia and hold onto the central tenet of the ritual while adapting the practice for a new context, combining DIY mivkah at home with breath-based Chesed practice.
☀️Omer Day 6 Immersion☀️
- While deep belly breathing to prepare for your symbolic immersion in water, meditate on an intention for connection to yourself and others and any barriers that currently exist for this connection
- State your intention out loud; you may also wish to say the traditional mikvah blessing which ends “al ha-tevilah” — “upon the immersion.”
- Step into your DIY mikvah
- “Immerse” yourself as fully as possible, three times
- Each immersion, picture yourself moving through the barriers and coming more fully into connection with your intention
- When ready, take one final breath and step out of the mikveh, symbolically transitioning into a new state of readiness for love and connection
✨Practice Notes ✨
- Similar to using a ritual vessel for handwashing before meals, we’re adapting the mikvah practice to something more accessible for the home. You may wish to use a bathtub if you have one for a more complete immersion; or simply the shower, stepping in and out (or forward and back) for the three immersions. If neither of these are available or comfortable, you could also use a water vessel and pour water over your head for each immersion.
- Traditional mikveh is done fully unclothed to remove any barriers between the body of water and human body; today’s practice may be done with any level of clothing — choose what feels safe and comfortable for you and the context in which you’re doing your practice. Obviously if you’re wearing clothing, it will get wet.
- The opening intention meditation is written here as a thought meditation; feel free to write your intention down if that feels meaningful and helpful.
☀️This post is part of our Omer Wellness Series – a daily 7-minute opportunity for introspection and intentional focus on caring for ourselves, each other, and our environment in this incredibly challenging time. ☀️
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