This is a part of Rabbi Jenna Stein Turow’s Omer Mixtape 2022 Project.
Day 8: Chesed within Gevurah: (loving criticism + healthy boundaries)
Anything but Me by Muna
Today begins a new theme of justice, strength, and discipline. Specifically, today is about infusing love into judgment and infusing discipline into loving relationships. We need to be strong and establish healthy boundaries with those we love, as well as provide criticism from a place of love. This song, like most Muna songs, is upbeat and emotionally visceral at the same time, which is fitting for today. It’s about establishing boundaries with someone who you were once in a romantic relationship with. They sing about how they are happy to be supportive of their former partner, but from a distance. The chorus perfectly encapsulates today’s theme.
Day 9: Gevurah within Gevurah: (self-discipline/improvement)
just like magic by Ariana Grande
This day is about personal strength and discipline. It’s about exercising discipline for yourself and your habits as well as utilizing strength to continue to improve. We have to be strong to channel our positive inclination (yetzer ha’tov) over our negative inclination (yetzer ha’rah), to form and continue practicing healthy habits over damaging ones. In this song, Ariana Grande sings about her healthy habits and how they have led to her success and help her continue to be successful, as well as the positivity that can enter your life when you live it confidently with self-discipline.
Day 10: Tiferet within Gevurah: (balance of self-discipline and self-care)
Don’t Want It by Lil Nas X
Today is about using balance to improve self-discipline. We have to find a balance between staying regimented and taking care of ourselves, between progressing forward and enjoying our progress as it happens. This song by Lil Nas X is about his balance between self-indulgence and hard work. He went through a difficult time psychologically, and chose to work hard to achieve his success. The song wonderfully details different aspects of his self-discipline and self-care.
Day 11: Netzach within Gevurah: (consistency + disciplined habits)
Ass Like That by Victoria Monét
This day is about exercising consistency within discipline. In order to establish a healthy practice or habit, we have to be consistent and practice it regularly. Without small incremental habits and actions, we cannot achieve long-term goals. This song may seem inappropriate from the title, but Victoria Monét is singing about how she works hard consistently to achieve the physical shape of her body. She works out and works on the parts of herself that she likes to show off, and that is why they consistently look good.
Day 12: Hod within Gevurah: (humility as strength)
HUMBLE. by Kendrick Lamar
Today is about utilizing humility as a strength and as a way to bolster your strength and discipline. It is a sign of strength to admit your weaknesses, and by admitting them you can continue to grow. This song felt like an obvious choice because of the name, Humble, as well as the message. Kendrick Lamar is rapping about how he worked incredibly hard to achieve his success, and that people should lead with humility before trying to boast themselves. The song is almost a conclusion to this day of the Omer, that if you start with humility, it will grow into strength and success.
Day 13: Yesod within Gevurah: (foundational discipline)
Started From the Bottom by Drake
This day builds on the day before, which is true each week but possibly more poignantly so today. It is about having discipline be built in from your core, from your foundational approach to life. Without longstanding established discipline, it can be difficult to continue to build on healthy habits and other desirable qualities we wish to achieve and express. This song by Drake once again perfectly matches from its title and message. Started from the bottom, now we here: Drake is rapping about his humble beginnings and how he established a hard-working, success-driven mindset from the beginning that led to his commercial success. This may be an exaggeration of Drake’s story, but it’s relatable to the listener regardless.
Day 14: Malkhut/Shekhina within Gevurah: (positive constructive criticism)
Lemon by N.E.R.D., Rihanna, and Pharrell
Today is the culmination of the week of discipline, and it’s about using discipline to enhance self-esteem. This happens with healthy, positive constructive criticism. If we can critique ourselves and take in that critique as an opportunity for improvement rather than an insult or accusation of character, we can continue to strengthen our confidence and resolve. This song, Lemon, essentially leads us on a journey of self-constructive criticism that ends up expressing confidence and leadership. Pharrell and Rihanna express being happy to be in the public eye because they can show off the confidence they’ve built by taking in criticism.