Q: Omer 11, Pocket Wisdom

Q: Omer 11, Pocket Wisdom

Day 11: Netzach she’b’Gevurah, Enduring Judgment

Woman holding a wooden staff with an owl carved into it

TEXT STUDY: Rabbi Simcha Bunim teaches: every person should have two pockets. In one pocket should be a piece of paper saying, “I am only dust and ashes.” When one is feeling too proud, reach into this pocket, and take out this paper and read it. In the other pocket should be a piece of paper saying, “For my sake the world was created.” When one is feeling disheartened and lonely, reach into this pocket, and take this paper out and read it. We are each the joining of two worlds. We are fashioned from clay, but our spirit is the breath of God. (Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim, Later Masters, 249-50)


IDEAS. Does this teaching from Rabbi Bunim suggest that no one can rest in a deep sense of well-being? Or is it a technique for finding well-being? Or…?

FEELINGS. Do you hold onto memories of criticisms that still sting? If so, how do you respond to those difficult feelings?

PRACTICES. Do you practice any version of Rabbi Bunim’s teaching? If so, what does your practice look like? Do you, for example, have an inner dialogue? Take up activities that change your sense of self? Or…?

GOD. Which of your inner tracks of thought and feeling do you think carries spiritual messages from the divine? One that reviews and corrects you? Or praises and encourages you? Or…?

About the questions

These questions take off from the text above. And they also go deeper into the daily reflections in the book Shechinah, Bring Me Home: Kabbalah and the Omer in Real Life.

There are many ways to explore these questions. You can: Tell a story from your own life. Give an example from a book or a movie. Write a poem. Analyze a concept. Offer a definition. Draw a picture. Sing a song.

New to the Omer? Here’s a guide to the theory and practice.

  1. Just want to say how much I appreciate how these questions help me engage on several levels of self reflection,.

    1. Thanks so much for saying that, Chava! I have to do a lot of reflection even to articulate the questions, so I appreciate learning that you resonate with them.

  2. Thanks Laura for reminding me of this story. Of course both are true all of the time. Oddly, knowing this gives me great comfort. And thanks again for “Shechina,Bring Me Home!”

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