Sefirat HaOmer as an Art School
“There is no Rock (Tzur) like our God” means that there is no artist (Tzayar) like God. In what way? A mortal king draws a picture on a wall, but can he also draw on water? Yet The Holy One, Blessed Is He, forms a fetus within the water in the mother’s belly. A mortal king forms a picture on a wall, but he cannot form within it a spirit and a soul, yet the Holy One, Blessed Is He, forms a fetus and imbues it with a spirit and soul. A person molds a form, and although he can speak, his form cannot speak; nevertheless, the man stands back and praises his work. But the Holy One, Blessed Is He, formed man, and that man stands and speaks and praises the Holy One, Blessed Is He. When a mortal wishes to draw a form, how much paint does he have to add until he completes the form? Yet, The Holy One, Blessed Is He, forms the man from a single droplet. When a mortal draws a form, this form cannot produce another form. Not so, The Holy One, Blessed Is He, for He creates a form, and His form produces another form. This is the meaning of “And there is no artist like our God”. (Midrash Tanchuma, Tazria #2)
It is obvious that “there is no artist like our God”; that, as humans, we cannot create at the same level as The Creator. However, reading through the examples that illustrate God’s uniqueness as an artist, we can be inspired to emulate His ways as we express our creativity through our actions, through our speech and through the way we relate to God, to the world and to ourselves.
“Imbuing a form with spirit”, can mean infusing everything we do with the life-force of Chesed.
“Creating from a single droplet”, instead of “using too much paint” can mean being more specific and focused when we are about to perform a Mitzvah. Not being distracted by quantity, but rather seeing how a little bit done with the proper intent can yield so much more, is a sign of Gevurah.
We can stand back and sing our own praises for an action we have accomplished, or, we can imbue an act with such beauty -Tiferet- that the act itself becomes an expression of praise.
And if the beauty is perceivable and brings others to become aware of the magnificence and glory deriving from this act, it is Hod.
When we are able to remove our self-interest from our creative actions, and do what we are doing without imposing ourselves in the picture, but rather do it with complete integrity- Yesod- what we accomplish is more than “a form that cannot produce another form”. It is a reflection of something beyond us; it becomes transcendent and can produce offshoots that will ensure its eternity- Netzach.
When we commit our entire being to what we do; a prayer, our study of Torah, or the way we address someone, when we incorporate all we have learned, our perception of all of creation, and become a reflection of it all -Malchut-; we are not limited to “drawing a picture on a wall”; we can draw on water or on air. Our life becomes the very canvas where all emotions and all experiences find room to be expressed.
Sefirat HaOmer, going through the different stages of the Middot Hayom affords us the opportunity to improve our artistry in order to reach a level where we can experience The Revelation with an intensified sense of partnership with The Master Artist.