We’re in the second week of the 49-day Counting of the Omer. As I shared earlier, Aish HaTorah, an excellent Orthodox Jewish organization, has organized this counting around 7 important character traits that are part of all humanity. In preparation for Shavuot, when we received the Torah as a united nation, many people use the Counting of the Omer to improve their character traits and their sense of unity as a People of God.I’m interacting with some of Aish’s ideas, adding some comments from ha B’rit Hadashah(the New Covenant) and offering some personal thoughts.
The first week focused on chesed, loving-kindness, and provided 7 easy ways to develop this character trait. The second week of the Counting looks at gevurah, discipline, and offers some easy-to-take steps to develop this character trait a bit better.
Day 13 ― Yesod of Gevurah: Bonding in Discipline
For discipline to be effective it must be coupled with commitment and bonding. Both in disciplining yourself and others there has to be a sense that the discipline is important for developing a stronger bond. Not that I discipline you, but that we are doing it together for our mutual benefit.
The writer to the Messianic Jews of the first century, quoting Proverbs 3:11-21, said, “My son, don’t despise the discipline of ADONAI or become despondent when he corrects you. For ADONAI disciplines those he loves… (MJs 12:5). Now, all discipline, while it is happening does indeed seem painful…but for those who have been trained by it, it later produces its peaceful fruit, righteousness.” (MJ 12:11)
When people know they’re being disciplined by someone who loves them, the discipline is more acceptable and is more likely to be received. I think this expresses something of what my father said to me when he had to punish me when I was a kid: “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” That was his way to let me know that he was with me while he was disciplining me, just as our Father is with us when he allows us to experience the pain from some sort of discipline in our lives.
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate to your child or student or someone else how discipline is an expression of intensifying your bond and commitment to each other.
After sundown tonight we say, “Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us [set us apart] by his commandments and commanded us to count the omer. Today is Day 14 of the Omer (Counting).