Day 21: Shechinah she’b’Tiferet, Presence within Beauty
I have wrestled with my sister, with holy wrestling, and I have succeeded. — Rachel, at the naming ceremony for her adopted son Naftali (Gen 30:8).
You have wrestled with God and humans, and you have succeeded. — The mysterious stranger, to Jacob, just before he reconciles with his brother Esau (Gen 32:29).
Do you know the famous story of Jacob wrestling with a mysterious stranger? During a sleepless night? Right before a planned meeting with his estranged brother? Did you know that, before him, his wife Rachel had also wrestled? Inside herself, that is? So that she could come to terms with her sister?
Yes, here Rachel was Jacob’s teacher.
According to the Zohar, Rachel stories are also about Shechinah (Presence). And Jacob stories are also about Tiferet (Beauty or Balance).
IDEAS. How can being “fully present” help you see beauty? Or find balance?
FEELINGS. What does it feel like to you to be sunk into yourself, wrestling with a worry? And how do you feel when you emerge from that time?
PRACTICES. Notice a time when you feel fully present—with an experience, or with a person. Feel what that’s like. Then, experiment with purposely tuning into that sense of presence.
GOD. Do you experience (or imagine) God as a presence within everything? If so, what kind of presence? If not, what seems odd about this description of God?
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.
Image Credit: Photo of Laura Duhan-Kaplan at Balnuaron of Clava, by Heidi Mannis.