Rosh Chodesh Sivan began Sunday, May 24. Our task from the second night of Passover through the 49 days of counting the Omer is to purify our souls. We set the intention to refine our partnership with Hashem and, on the eve of Shavuot, Thursday, May 28, aspire to arrive elevated, worthy of receiving the Torah.
Just like the layers of a cheesecake eaten on Shavuot, there are layers in the Universe. There’s the sweet G-dly energy on top, the mundane thickest part in the middle, and the crusty, dark layer on the bottom. During Sivan we strive to become aware of what drags us into the lower realm, what raises the energy of our middle ground, and what actions we can take to pull G-d’s light, wisdom and love down into our everyday existence.
We get trapped in the lower levels when we forget to reach out to Hashem. As we’ve been “Zooming” through life, short-circuited from adjusting to so many changes, it’s important to remember that we’re not alone and always in partnership with G-d. It’s up to us to invite goodness into our lives by performing acts of loving-kindness, especially when it isn’t easy.
In the story of the Book of Ruth, steadfast love and loyalty were exemplified in the relationship between Naomi and her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth. Regardless of their suffering, they remained true to their innate G-dliness and were rewarded with chesed, or loving-kindness, bestowed upon them by Hashem.
As a marriage and family therapist, I can tell you that the best partnerships are built on a foundation of trust, respect and communication that tackles the issues rather than each other. The best is actualized in each partner and there’s mindfulness in keeping the connection alive.
In assessing our partnership with G-d, we can focus on how we’re trusting and trustworthy, respectful, communicative and present. Have we prayed to G-d or communicated our challenges during this pandemic? If we’re feeling lost, have we realigned ourselves through the list of middot, or Divine attributes? We each have a responsibility to become the best version of ourselves.
Sivan is the Zodiac month of Gemini, the warring twins. It highlights the struggle within us between the yezter hara of evil inclination and the yetzer tov, of goodness. The Hebrew letter is zayin, the crown. The month is ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication. The tribe of Zebulun moved up and down through the layers by vacillating between valuing spiritual quests and acquiring material possessions. The sense is walking and the controlling limb, the left foot, or physical side. On our pilgrimage forward, we’ll need to include the right foot, our spiritual side, in order to walk in balance.
There are many parallels of the journey our ancestors took to the one we’re on today. For decades, our society has enslaved itself to material possessions, putting work ahead of spiritual study, resulting in time away from self, family and community. Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve been moving through the narrow straits, adjusting to our “new normal.” Our ancestors were charged with the same task. We have the opportunity to journey toward a promised land, but we must create it.
We know we’re showing up with clean hands. Can we also show up with full, open hearts? It’s our job to keep the earpiece to Hashem charged so communication flows in both directions. Especially in this busy time, let’s fine-tune our connection bringing G-dliness to our everyday tasks. There’s holiness in preparing meals, mopping the floor, reading to a child, and brushing our teeth.
Polishing our souls returns us to a state of purity. When we’re in touch with what matters, life becomes simpler. Kabbalists believe that there’s a present creation of the world. It’s not something that happened long ago. Each day, we have the opportunity to create the world anew.
Meditation Focus: Ask yourself, “What kind of world do I want to co-create with G-d? What can I bring to the partnership? Can I see G-d in all people and situations and trust that there’s a greater purpose to our challenges?