God is eternal. Humans temporarily endure.
We’re so different.
But the Omer count gives us only “seven sefirot to describe them all.” (If I might paraphrase The Lord of the Rings.)
Hod she’b’Netzach might mean two entirely different things. One to express God’s nature. And another to express human nature.
God’s Nature is Eternal
Hod means glory. Netzach means Eternity. Hod she’b’netzach is the glory in Eternity. Why is God so glorious? Because God is unique. God is the only eternal being.
Is that not a wild and wacky definition of God? God is eternal being.
That’s the heart of the matter. Forget the confusing stories in the Torah. Like when God creates a good world and then floods it. Those are at best pointers towards the truth. And, at worst, distractions from it.
So, that’s God. Glorious and eternal. God is the Hod she’b’Netzach.
But Human Nature? We Endure
Guess who isn’t glorious and eternal? Human beings. The ones whose lives are, as philosopher Thomas Hobbes puts it, nasty, brutish and short.
So, to make hod she’b’netzach relevant, we’ll have to redefine it.
Hod can also mean gratitude. And netzach can also mean endurance. Thus, Hod she’b’netzach is the gratitude in endurance.
What does it mean for a person to endure? To stay alive? Keep moving forward? With personhood intact? How is gratitude part of that?
Could I answer this out of my own experience? Maybe, just a little bit.
Enduring is an inner conversation between the “keep going” angel and the “give up” angel. It’s when the “keep going” angel wins by a slight margin. What pushes it forward? Sometimes it’s love. For someone you hope to see again. Or don’t want to disappoint. And then, you’re just grateful you have someone. Grateful they keep you going.
And that’s us. Grateful to endure. We access the Hod She’b’Netzach.
Is that like a taste of eternity? A taste of glory? Sure, if you want to wax poetic. But no, if you want to be realistic. Because the world is full of hard things. And maybe not all of them can be redeemed.
So, I share this poem, For Example, by Mary Oliver.
Today is Day 26 of the Omer, i.e., three weeks and five days.
New to the Omer count? Here’s a primer.