Friday, April 22, 2011

Personal Practice

היום ארבעה ימים לעמר
Today is four days of the omer
נצח שבחסד
A day of perseverance in a week of loving kindness

Today is the first Shabbat of the omer period. Each year I need to decide how I am going to handle the blogging on the Shabbatot of the omer. It is clear that using my computer, or even just writing the post for the day is not halachically correct. But my practice does not encompass strict observance of the Jewish halachic laws. In fact, one advantage of not being a rabbi is the ability to more easily make my Jewish practice my own, taking on the commitment of following various rituals as I am ready. I can also give myself the latitude to reject those strictures I feel don't make sense for me.

I have no problem writing--on the computer or on paper--on Shabbat. I would not write on Shabbat within the confines of my synagogue, that would be disrespectful. It needs to stand as a place of comfort for all members wherever they stand in the range of observance. My own level is somewhat of a moving target--different rituals have different meaning in different years. I set the rigors of my practice as needed. So this year I will write and post on Shabbat--other years may be different.

Because study is integral to my spiritual practice, I find myself in an evolving process. It's that constant evolution that keeps me on this path. The movement may be slow--sometimes frustratingly so--but as long as I can keep studying and learning, progress is made.

Today we honor perseverance and loving-kindness--two important elements in bringing spiritual practice into your life. Through the lens of loving-kindness you can see what ritual will work for you. Whatever you chose, you need to make a commitment to it--even if it's just for a period of time. Perseverance to the practice is what makes it work.

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