Omer Mixtape 2024: Week 1 Chesed

Omer Mixtape 2024: Week 1 Chesed

This is a part of Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow’s Omer Mixtape 5784/2024 Project

The first week of the Omer focuses on the sefira of Chesed, lovingkindness. 

Chesed relates to all aspects of love, from our relationships with other people, to how we love ourselves, to how we connect to the Divine. This is an opportunity to express and receive unconditional love toward the people, experiences, and things that bring us joy and fill our cups. It begins with ourselves and flows outward, moving from self-love, to challenges and finding balance in our relationships. 

It explores the foundations, endurance, and power of our love, and the divine power of using love for good. 

As you can imagine, there are quite a few love songs out there, many of which have the word itself in the title. This playlist is not an expansive list of all of those, though there’s a large selection that connects well to Chesed. Song titles that are a sentence or phrase, like “Love Will Get You There” by Inhaler, an Irish rock band, typically give you their thesis in the title.  

Any song with the word “love” in the title then feels self-explanatory, so the focus here is to break down the songs without love in the title.

Infatuation & Chesed: Mirroring Faith

There are a number of songs on this playlist that speak to a more surface-level love, the initial infatuation. 

For example, the first song alphabetically, “Adore You” by Harry Styles is about falling for someone’s aura. A song that’s romantic in nature can transcend its original meaning for a deeper understanding of how love plays out in our lives and relationships. Jewish literature often references the relationship between God and the Jewish people as romantic, as a bride and groom or two people in love. 

Music ranging from infatuation to deep love for a partner, or casual dismissal to deep hurt from a break-up, becomes the spectrum of faith, the ebbs and flows of love songs mirroring our trust in and tests of faith. Let the songs on the Chesed playlist help you explore the role of love in your faith.  

Romantic Love & Chesed: On the Journey

The trials of romantic love can be applied to the introspective spiritual journey of Chesed, as we look to change from within to experience greater love. Carly Rae Jepsen in her song “Surrender My Heart” focuses on being open and honest as a foundation for love. 

Her thesis is similar to Brené Brown, that vulnerability and openness are what strengthen us and increase our capacity for love. Introspection during the Omer should be dedicated to this work, to vulnerability. 

Similar to Jepsen, the Giant Rooks on their song “Somebody Like You” focus on finding a person that gives us the safety to be ourselves freely. Wrestling with love is present in “Fireworks” by JOSEPH (a trio of sisters, not one person named Joseph) which is about the struggle of holding out hope for the kind of love that sparks, not sacrificing one’s own light for anyone. 

Everyone has their version of these fireworks, the search for the thing that burns bright, and adds to our light. During the Omer, we focus on harnessing the energy to continue the search, to stay on the journey toward love, led with love.   

Self-Love + Chesed: Within and Without 

Our relationship to the Divine, and with the people we encounter, hinges on our capacity to love ourselves. Self-love-themed music can inspire us, giving us the strength and power to love ourselves. 

Beyoncé’s “COZY”  is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s hard not to love yourself while listening to Beyoncé, in my opinion, but you may find a different artist brings out that side of you. It’s about the lyrics and the music. For self-love, you need something upbeat that will hype you up. Whatever the words may be, the beat and the melody captivate the feeling. 

Similarly, “MY SHINE” by Bishop Briggs is about maintaining your own “shine” despite obstacles, and “Number One Fan” by MUNA is about being your own biggest fan. Lizzo, who many think of as a champion of self-love, is included here with “Special,” a song about believing in yourself even if nobody else does. 

Channeling Chesed means we tap into our self-confidence, and begin our journey through the Omer by leading with love.

Author

  • Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow

    Rabbi Jenna is passionate about experiential education, building meaningful community, and seeking authenticity from within and without through creative expression and spiritual exploration. Before rabbinical school, Rabbi Jenna received dual Bachelor's degrees in English and Secondary Education and worked as a high school English teacher. She has translated her love of literature into a deep appreciation for analysis and exploration of Jewish text, always seeking to connect the Jewish tradition with relevant contemporary life, values, and content. In her free time, you can find her updating her playlists, going to concerts, playing with her cat, or exploring nature.

    View all posts https://tiktok.com/jennaratekindness

Author

  • Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow

    Rabbi Jenna is passionate about experiential education, building meaningful community, and seeking authenticity from within and without through creative expression and spiritual exploration. Before rabbinical school, Rabbi Jenna received dual Bachelor's degrees in English and Secondary Education and worked as a high school English teacher. She has translated her love of literature into a deep appreciation for analysis and exploration of Jewish text, always seeking to connect the Jewish tradition with relevant contemporary life, values, and content. In her free time, you can find her updating her playlists, going to concerts, playing with her cat, or exploring nature.

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