We’re beginning the third 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, which we will observe on June 8 during and after services, when we received the Torah as a united nation, many people use the Counting of the Omer to improve character traitsand develop 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 of the 49-day Counting 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. Now, we enter the third week in which we’re going to explore a very important characteristic—tiferet/compassion.
From Aish—Do I feel superior because I am compassionate? Do I look down at those that need my compassion? Am I humble and thankful to God for giving me the ability to have compassion for others?
From Luke—“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.” (4:11).
From me—Feeling compassion for others doesn’t really come naturally to humans. When we’re children, we need our parents to be compassionate with us. But when we mature, we need to have empathy for others. However, some people are not raised in homes with compassion and grow up with a lack of empathy. But, this can be developed…if we practice it. See the exercise for the day.
Exercise for the day: Express compassion in an anonymous fashion, not taking any personal credit. This trains us to be humble and do right things for no personal gain. This is Yeshua’s teaching in a nutshell. Sacrificial love leads to compassion for others.