A person who wakes up in the morning is like a new creation.
Begin your day with unkind or trivial words, and the day is tainted.
All of your words each day are related to one another.
All of them are rooted in the first words that you speak that day.
Israel Baal Shem Tov (written long before the advent of tweets . . .)
A bit of backstory:
For the past six weeks (since the second Seder of Passover) Jews everywhere have been marking off the forty-nine days until Shavuot - the festival that celebrates the giving and receiving of the Torah. This custom is called Counting the Omer, and today -
May 24, 2017 — is the first day of the seventh and final week.
This counting began as an agricultural (some might say superstitious) ritual. Our ancestors would pray for an abundant spring harvest by waving a measure of barley - an omer - toward the night sky. Eventually, this agricultural rite was replaced by special blessings, and the counting became the way to mark the Israelites’ journey from bondage in Egypt to revelation at Mount Sinai.
People keen on Kabbalah consider the Counting of the Omer a time of self-reflection and spiritual renewal - a 49-day mindfulness practice that helps us pay attention to the uncertainty in our lives. The small changes, the dramatic transitions, our reactions to life’s shifting circumstances and new realities.
According to the mystical tradition, each of the seven weeks holds a specific
Week One: Loving-kindness
Week Two: Discernment
Week Three: Beauty, Balance and Truth
Week Four: Victory and Vision
Week Five: Gratitude
Week Six: Foundation and Connection
Week Seven: Sovereignty and Supreme authority
So, now we arrive at D. J. Trump and the Seven Weeks.
The week of sovereignty and supreme authority.
Today, I suggest that on each day of the coming week, D. J. Trump consider the following questions and exercises, paraphrased from Journey through the Wilderness: A Mindful Approach to the Ancient Jewish Practice of Counting the Omer by Rabbi Yael Levy;
and A Spiritual Guide to the Counting of the Omer by Simon Jacobson.
May 24. Day One of Week 7:
Healthy authority is always kind and loving. An effective leader needs to be considerate. Does my sovereignty make me more loving? Do I exercise my leadership in a caring manner? Do I impose my authority on others?
Exercise for the day: Do something kind for your subordinates.
May 25. Day Two of Week 7:
Do I recognize when I am not an authority? Do I exercise authority in unwarranted situations? Am I aware of my limitations as well as my strengths? Do I respect the authority of others? Dignity also needs discipline. A dignified person needs to have a degree of reserve.
Exercise for the day: Before taking an authoritative position on any given issue, pause and reflect if you have the right and the ability to exercise authority in this situation.
May 26. Day Three of Week 7:
A good leader is compassionate. Is my compassion compromised because of my authority? Do I manage a smooth-running operation? Do I give clear instructions to
my subordinates? Do I have difficulty delegating power? Does my organization work
as a team?
Exercise for the day: Review an area where you wield authority and see if you can increase its effectiveness by curtailing excesses.
May 27. Day Four of Week 7:
Determination and will reflect the power and majesty of the human spirit. How strong
is my conviction to fight for a dignified cause? How confident am I in myself?
Do I mask my insecurities by finding excuses?
Exercise for the day: Act on something that you believe in but have until now been tentative about.
May 28. Day Five of Week 7:
Does my authority humble me? Am I an arrogant leader? Do I appreciate my blessings?
Exercise for the day: Acknowledge God for creating you with personal dignity.
May 29. Day Six of Week 7:
Self-confidence allows you to respect and trust another's authority and ultimately join with him. Does my authority prevent me from uniting with others? Could that be because of deeper insecurities and a lack of self-confidence that I am unaware of?
Exercise for the day: Actualize your authority by intensifying your bond with a close one.
May 30: Day Seven of Week 7:
Does my position of leadership come from deep-rooted inner confidence in myself?
Or is it just a put-on to mask my insecurities? Does that cause my authority to be excessive?
Exercise for the day: Take a moment and concentrate on yourself, on your true inner self, not on your performance and how you project to others.
During this seventh week of the Omer period - before we receive Torah and its mandate to create a just society - we are instructed to ask ourselves:
Where is our world now, compared to where we want it to be?
Where is there suffering, violence, and corruption?
Where do we see the absence of our most deeply-held values, an erosion of our most fundamental sense of what is right?
How would you answer those questions, D. J. Trump?
Our sages tell us that when the Hebrews were in bondage, they assimilated the immoral ways of the ancient Egyptian people. But then, the Children of Israel were miraculously redeemed and - during their forty-nine day trip to Sinai - underwent a spiritual transformation and became a holy nation.
Can miraculous transformations still happen?
Can a seventy-year old man still be zapped with an ah-HA, revelation?
Somewhere, deep inside, D. J. Trump must must must have better angels.
I’m counting on it.
copyright 2017 Ozzie Nogg