A firm foundation of connection


In the mystical Kabbalistic way of counting the Omer (the days between Pesach & Shavuot), we are in week 6, the week marked by the quality of y’sod. The word y’sod literally means “foundation,” but to the mystics, it also suggests the idea of “connection” and is associated with the Biblical figure of Joseph. Sold into slavery in Egypt by his brother’s, Joseph manages to connect to those around him and to God, allowing him to leave behind both slavery and prison and rise to a high position in Pharaoh’s court. At the same time, Joseph never lets go of his connection to the traditions of his family and his people. The ancient rabbis teach that Joseph fully follows both the ritual and ethical laws of Torah even through he is the lone Israelite in a society whose values and laws are very different from his. This ability to retain a deep connection to our highest values while at the same time connecting to those around us who are different from us is at the heart of the quality of y’sod. May we aspire to follow the example of Joseph in holding tight to the transcendent teachings of Torah while holding out our hands to those in our diverse society. Only through connection to both can our foundation stand firm.