35th Day of the Omer (Tuesday, 4 May)

Major sefirah: Hod/Thanks-givng; minor sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship

Part of what tortured me when I was a slave to Pharaoh in Egypt was that I knew that there was something, some slavery, going on inside me as well. I don’t think my Egyptian taskmasters—former taskmasters, that is—had any such struggle. But I knew that a part of me, a part I couldn’t see, but that felt more real than my body, was being forced to do unsatisfying, demeaning, meaningless work, work that belonged to the body and not to the real me.

After the excitement of the plagues, of the liberation, redemption and the splitting of the sea (whew!), this quiet time of counting the steps toward the Revelation has made it clear that the real me—I’m calling it my neshamah—has to be in charge of my body. My neshamah hasn’t yet fully assumed her throne, but I’m singing, singing, to God for at least making me aware that my neshamah rules! Dayeinu!

You know, I mentioned yesterday that I don’t want to be a “credit hog,” taking all credit for myself and denying God His due, Heaven forbid! Truth is, it’s not right for anyone. But one thing I know is that people take suggestions, and even criticisms, more easily when they’re in a good mood. So when I see a chum or a neighbor basking in some material success, I’ll try to nudge him to “thank God!”

Say what you want about those Egyptians, but stupid they weren’t. Pharaoh’s soldiers were up before dawn every day pledging their allegiance and swearing their loyalty to him. It wasn’t some formalized rote either. Those guys meant it! They really loved working for that son of a gun.

Nu? Wasn’t I up that early when my fellow Israelites and I were told to we were leaving Egypt once and for all?! Well, I’ve still got some Egypt left in me. Sad, but true. I need to get up before dawn to reject their kingship and accept God’s. I’m going to try to pray as early as possible, every day.

Author: Ozer Bergman

Ozer Bergman is an editor for the Breslov Research Institute, a spiritual coach, and author of Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation.

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