We’re finishing 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 traits and 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. We’re coming to the end of the third week tiferet/compassion.
Today is Day 20 ― Yesod of Tiferet: Bonding in Compassion
From Aish: For compassion to be fully realized, it needs bonding. It requires creating a channel between giver and receiver; a mutuality that extends beyond the moment of need. A bond that continues to live on. That is the most gratifying result of true compassion. Do you bond with the one you have compassion for, or do you remain apart? Does your interaction achieve anything beyond a single act of sympathy?
From Rabbi Paul: Ephesians 4:3 and making every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit gives through the binding power of shalom.
From me: The opposite of unity in the Spirit is disunity, chaos, conflict, leading to mistrust. Whereas God desires unity through the binding power of shalom, harmony and peace, the Evil One seeks to destroy as many godly relationships as possible. Peter wrote, “Stay sober, stay alert! Your enemy, the Adversary, stalks about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8). Even though HaSatan wants to destroy individuals, marriages, congregations, countries, followers of Yeshua have victory, so we can develop bonding in spite of the forces of evil.
Exercise for the day: The Devil wants to destroy; our compassion builds up. Ensure that something eternal is built as a result of your compassion today. A good word, spoken at the right time, can do wonders to build someone up. Who can we build up today?
After sundown tonight, when we begin the next day, 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 21 of the Omer (Counting).”