Saturday, May 14, 2016

Omer 2016 Day 22: Rahab

Day 22: Chesed in Netzach, Mercy in Victory
Mahalia Jackson sings "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"

Before the walls could come tumbling down in Jericho, Joshua and the Israelites had some help from a Jericho resident named Rahab. Two Israelite spies on an information-gathering mission before the battle were nearly caught by the king of Jericho's men, but Rahab the harlot hid them in her home and helped them escape the city to report their findings to Joshua (Joshua 2). Her mercy won her the respect and protection of the Israelite army when they eventually sacked the city, leaving her home and family untouched.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Omer 2016 Day 21: Vashti

Day 21: Malchut in Tiferet, Leadership in Beauty
"...when the king was merry with wine, he ordered Mehuman, Bizzetha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven eunuchs in attendance on King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king wearing a royal diadem, to display her beauty to the peoples and the officials; for she was a beautiful woman. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command..." (Esther 1:10-12)
Traditionally, Purim is a celebration of Queen Esther, who replaced Queen Vashti after she was banished for disobeying the king. Today, however, there has been more interest in her story as a feminist and/or a rallying point for social justice. Rather than take the abuse of her drunken husband and his drunken friends, Vashti followed her own rules.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Omer 2016 Day 20: Zilpah and Bilhah

Day 20: Yesod in Tiferet, Foundation in Balance
When Zilpah and Bilhah became mothers, it kicked off the "baby wars" as my rabbi in Philadelphia called it. Leah had had four sons, while Rachel was barren. Out of jealousy and in an attempt to "catch up" to Leah, Rachel turned her servant Bilhah into a surrogate and Bilhah had two sons. Then Leah's servant Zilpah entered the race and also had two sons. Leah had two more sons and a daughter before Rachel finally conceived. 

This whole saga began as an attempt at balance between two sisters and all these children became the foundation of the Jewish people, the twelve tribes of Israel.