Counting the Omer: Day 13 — Strength and Limits


Jay Jacobs

Yesod of of Gevruah. This is the week of Gevurah, strength and limits. It is almost time for
Shabbat, which reminds me of Tzfat, Kabbalists dressed in white coming to greet Shabbat and
Rabbi Isaac Luria who walked among them.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner teaches us that, “When first setting out to make our world, G-d
planned to pour a Holy Light into everything in order to make it real. G-d prepared vessels to
contain the Holy Light. But something went wrong. The light was so bright that the vessels
burst, shattering into millions of broken pieces like dishes dropped on the floor. The Hebrew
phrase which Luria used for this ‘breaking of vessels’ is sh’virat ha-kaylim.

“Our world is a mess because it is filled with broken fragments. When people fight and hurt one
another, they allow the world to remain shattered. The same can be said of people who have
pantries filled with food and let others starve. According to Luria, we live in a cosmic heap of
broken pieces, and G-d cannot repair it alone. That is why G-d created us and gave us the
freedom of choice. We are free to do whatever we please with our world. We can allow things to
remain broken or as Luria urged we can try to repair the mess.”

Freedom to choose is a precious gift. Rabbi Luria’s term for “repairing the world” is “tikun olam”.
Do you think of tikun olam whenever you make a decision? Exercise for today: Look at HOW
you make choices because each one can bring a little more light into the world just in time for

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