NEW FOR 2018!
We’re expanding the Omer project to 10 weeks and including a Facebook Discussion group and free live Zoom Room chats. (Saturdays at 9:00pm EST.) For more information, sign onto Facebook and ask to join the Parsha Challenge group or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SCHEDULE AND LINKS TO WEEKLY CHAT ROOM NOTES:
- March 17 – A look at Biblical “templates,” the 4 Worlds of Existence, Levels of the Soul & More – CLICK FOR NOTES
- March 24 – Overview of Sefirot. Focus on Keter, Chochmah, Binah and Da’at – CLICK FOR NOTES
- March 31 – Omer Study: CHESED: “The Seven Ushpizin”
- April 7 – Omer Study: GEVURAH: “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (Stephen Covey book)
- April 14 – Omer Study: TIFERET: “Ana Bekoach” prayer
- April 21 – Omer Study: NETZACH: Characters from Winnie the Pooh, The Matrix, Harry Potter, etc.
- April 28 – Omer Study: HOD: The Psychology of Building Resilience
- May 5 – Omer Study: YESOD: The Middot and The Tzaddik
- May 12 – Omer Study: MALCHUT: Concepts from “Sha’are Orah” (Gates of Light)
- May 19 – TBD (Shavuot chat, parsha study with Bamidbar – who knows!)
It is the custom during the Omer to look at the seven lower Sefirot (‘middot’) and seek to understand each on more in-depth and connect it to our lives and the world. As each Sefirah has aspects of the others within it, we look at aspects of all seven within each one. This process of rectifying our inner attributes (‘tikkun middot’) takes us through the 49 days of the Omer leading to Shavuot, the fiftieth day.
This project introduces a unique approach that will complement the standard practice. We’re taking a specific look at the seven middot of each week through a particular lens – each offering a different perspective than the others. Each ‘filter’ has a relationship to the particular week based on the standard order the Sefirot are presented in. (Aspects of Chesed for week 1, of Gevurah for week 2, etc.) It should be noted that while we are dealing with the lower seven Sefirot, these are rooted in the Mochin, the three upper Sefirot of Binah, Chokmah and Keter (or Da’at). We will at times refer back to some of the foundational principles of the ‘left, right and center.’
Week 1 – CHESED
The Ushpizin of Sukkot
As Chesed is in the expansive (right) side of the Tree of Life, we begin by looking at the Middot through the tradition of pro-active investigation of the Ushpizin (‘guests’) who we ‘invite’ into our sukkah on Sukkot; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David.
Week 2 – GEVURAH
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey
Gevurah is on the left side of restriction, so here we will focus on seven powerful forces behind our behaviors. We will compare how the middot directly relate to the ‘eternal concepts’ discussed in this best-selling text.
Week 3 – TIFERET
The Ana Bekoach Prayer
The central Sefirah of Tiferet and the concept of prayer are closely associated with the subject of mashiach. We will explore ideas in this ancient mystical seven line prayer.
Week 4 – NETZACH
Characters from Winnie the Pooh
Returning to the right side of expansion and creativity, we look at the characteristics of characters of these popular books and films. As Netzach is a pro-active spark, this might even be something to share with the young ones!
Week 5 – HOD
The Psychology of Building Resilience
Back to the left side of the tree, Hod is the reflective/reverberative Sefirah. This section will take a look at the relationship of the middot to concept of “building resilience” – dealing with life’s challenges.
Week 6 – YESOD
How the middot relate to the concept of ‘connectedness’ within and through righteous individuals.
Week 7 – MALCHUT
Names and Concepts Associated with the Middot as found in Sha’are Orah
We will look at how this text explains words and concepts from Tanakh and other Torah literature, revealing deeper layers of connectivity between the spiritual and physical worlds.