As we reach the end of the fifth week of counting the Omer, we focus on the Divine Attributes of Malchut in Y'sod, Leadership in Bonding.
As I walk through the woods today, I am suddenly struck by the dead trees. They are dead, certainly, and yet they are home to so much life. Most readily visible are the bracket fungi I see on some, forming small shelves all the way up the still-standing tree trunk. In one place, I see the remains of a tree so thoroughly decayed and integrated into the forest floor that it is barely recognizable as a fallen tree. I'm on a brisk walk today, so I don't stop to look, but I know from past observations that these decaying trees are home to a variety of small six- and eight-legged creatures. And I can see the woodpecker holes where they went in search of their dinner, and I even hear one hammering in the distance.
The trees are a critical part of the ecosystem in which they are the dominant plants, but not only when they are alive. As the dead tree decays, everything that makes it up cycles through the ecosystem, giving needed nutrients and energy to other organisms.
What does it mean to be a leader? In many ways, it means to give to others what they need. As we allow our gifts, our words, our deeds, our resources to enrich others, to be the nutrients and the energy they need – whether in ways readily visible and apparent or not – we not only bond with those around us, but we model how to be a healthy part of our family and community ecosystems.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam, asher kid-shanu b'mitzvotav, vitzivanu, al sefirat ha'omer.
Blessed are you Adonai our G!d, ruler of the universe, who sanctifies us with mitzvot and commands us regarding the counting of the Omer.
Today is forty-two days, which is six weeks of the Omer.