Day 15: Chesed she’b’Tiferet, Love in Beauty
A little story about Moses, Aaron, Nadav, Avihu, and 70 elders up on Mt. Sinai:
וַיִּרְא֕וּ אֵ֖ת אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְתַ֣חַת רַגְלָ֗יו כְּמַעֲשֵׂה֙ לִבְנַ֣ת הַסַּפִּ֔יר וּכְעֶ֥צֶם הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם לָטֹֽהַר׃
They saw the God of Israel. Under God’s feet, [it was] like an artisan sapphire pavement, like the essence of the sky in its purity. (Exodus 24: 10)
COMMENT: Are you a visual person? If so, you can picture this pavement, can’t you? It’s like the bluest sky on the clearest day. So beautiful you just want to stare and stare and stare.
I’m sure that’s how Moses and friends felt. In fact, I’m sure the point of this verse is to tell us how they felt—not what they saw.
So, I might re-interpret the verse a bit: Under God’s feet, they felt a sudden sense of peace rush in, convincing them that their little part of the world was perfect, and that maybe the whole world could be perfect too. (Adapted from Shechinah, Bring Me Home, 66)
THINKING. What kinds of profound experiences do you think could be called “seeing God”?
PRACTICES. “Stop and smell the roses.” Really, I’m not joking! Take your time to pause and enjoy any beautiful sounds, smells, sights, textures, tastes that present themselves today.
FEELINGS. What does it feel like when you take the time to contemplate something beautiful? And let its beauty move you? What do you feel in your body, mood, emotions, attitude?
GOD. Do you imagine (or experience) God as beautiful? (Or not?) If so, in what ways? Essence? Appearance? Expression in your inner life?
About the Questions
These questions take off from the text above. And they also go deeper into the day’s 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.