Netzach is understood as God's quality of eternity—endless, timeless, measureless. It's difficult for us limited and timebound humans to think of ourselves as eternal. However, we do understand how, at our best, we can strive toward God's quality of eternity by reaching for goals and extending the reach of our lives beyond our temporal limitations. The human qualities of ambition and endurance are a reflection of the divine quality of eternity. That is how I will think of netazach in this week's reflections on the Counting of the Omer.
Wednesday begins the 22nd day of the Omer, the day of chesed within netzach—love within endurance. It may seem like an unlikely pairing. How does love inform our ambition and our determination to succeed? Yet, it is relevant to ask myself: How does my ambition derive from caring for others? Is my ambition selfless or selfish? How are my life goals informed by compassion?
Day 23 of the Omer is Thursday, and it is a day for contemplating g'vurah within netzach —strength within endurance. True endurance comes from self-discipline. Is my drive to achieve rooted in my spiritual strength, or just the fear of failure?
Friday is day 24 and it pairs tiferet with netzach—balance within endurance. Ambition to do what is right can change the world. I ask myself: Do my ambitions match the size of my vision of the world as it should be? Do my personal goals radiate with the splendor of tiferet?
Shabbat will be day 25, netzach within netzach—endurance within endurance. There are difficult questions embedded in this day. How reliable am I? Is my “will power” a power that lasts? Do I persist for what I know is right?
Sunday brings day 26 and another apparent contradiction. This day is the day of hod within netzach—humility within endurance. The unlikely pairing, though, yields powerful questions about the very nature of my striving to endure. Does my recognition of my limitations help me to dream big, or does it just give me an excuse not to try? Real humility should be a drive to reach beyond myself to the reality beyond. If my sense of humility just makes me feel worthless, it is actually despair.
Monday is day 27 and prompts reflection on yesod within netzach—bonding within endurance. I ask: Do I invite others to draw strength from my ambition and drive? Do I build my dreams on my feeling of connection to others?
The week of netzach will end next Tuesday, day 28, with malchut within netzach—nobility within endurance. Is my ambition dignified? Does it come from the highest place within me, or is it just a reflection of my ego.
We are now getting into some of the most difficult reflections of the Omer period. This week's contemplation of ambition and endurance forces us to look at life goals and the fulfillment of our life's purpose. As we go into the last three weeks, we will face even more challenging questions about our humility, our connection to others, and, finally, how we are to become the hero of our own lives. I wish you joy and fulfillment in joining me on this journey through the 49 gates that will prepare us for receiving Torah on Shavuot!