Beauty’s Joyful Excitement

Here is a link to the Hebrew text:

When we count the Omer starting with Chesed of Chesed and ending with Malchut of Malchut, then Lag B’Omer, the thirty-third day, is Hod Sheb’Hod. Hod represents “beauty“, “a sense of perfection“, “balance“, “symmetry” and “aesthetic“. For an entire week this is our theme and, as we go through the days of the week we arrive at Hod sheb’Hod on the fifth day of our Hod-focused work. It is that part of the work in which we are remembering that we need to be sensitive to the level of “affect” in the way that we present the Hod on which we are working. Hod is to be presented in a way that is respectful of its non-verbal impact on the receiver, of how it is felt, and of the sense of beauty one feels when it is handed over. So Hod Sheb’Hod is “the beauty of the beauty”.

In Genesis 32:26, after the angel wrestles with Jacob and Jacob prevails, the angel injures Jacob’s left leg, (when the Sefirot are mapped to the parts of the body, Netzach and Hod are associated with the right and left legs respectively), and his left leg is dislocated from its socket. Here is the interpretation on a symbolic level (cf Pardes Rimmonim Shaar 17:1):

Esav‘s guardian angel was trying to knock down Yaakov, who is associated with Tiferet, (the “heart” place, the place of “splendor”, the balance of Hesed and Gevurah, hence, “balance”, “splendor”, “glory” and “harmony”), from his Tiferet place. He didn’t want Yaakov to be aware of the beauty that he had inside, and so the injury was intended to hurt and damage his “self”, so that he wouldn’t feel he had any Hod at all. The person who is injured in this way feels that he doesn’t have any grace, any splendor or any purity.  Rather, he’s despicable and ugly, and the intent of the angel was to make Yaakov feel this way.

It is a difficult way to feel. Even when someone shows you some shade of grace external to you, inside, in your innermost place, you feel your Hod Sheb’Hod is dry and without the joy which, like oil, can add a lubrication to your “dryness”, and get  excitement moving.

The damage that the angel did to Yaakov was a very deep and serious darkness and it seemed as if the grace inside of him was just completely obliterated. So it is for this reason that we pray on Lag B’Omer for bringing about repairs within this most special inner place of beauty of beauty that lies deep inside and may for some of us have become dormant.  On this day, when we recite the traditional Kavanah for counting Sefirot we are praying that God will effect repairs inside of ourselves in the innermost place where we may be feeling nothing but ugliness and a lack of access to beauty:

“May it be Your will that through the merit of the Sefirah that I have counted today that there be corrected whatever has been spoiled inside of me of the Sefirah of Hod Sheb’Hod.”  Amen. Ken y’hi ratzon


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