Day Thirty-Six of the Omer

Chesed in Yesod - loving kindness in a solid foundation.

I like to hope that society will eventually recognize more fully that compassion is an essential element of civilization, and an expression of fairness as well - that is, establishing equal compassion to all peoples makes a society more fair.

Civil rights, marriage equality (which is a civil right), promotion of the full franchise (see the Daily Show's coverage of India) - these basic understandings of sharing space with our human companions and acknowledging their common humanity with our own make us civilized.

Compassion and kindness start a solid foundation so that it holds all who need to be a part of our project. Build sensibly, fairly, and include kindness.

Day Twenty-Four of the Omer

Tiferet in Netzach - balanced harmony in eternity.

As the harmonization between rigor and compassion, I fully embrace the challenge of attempting to be a parent for the long term, and how much that beautiful balance must be a part of it.

To set a standard, enforce it, and then when broken, be compassionate to our children so that they can learn and grow from the experience. So that they will still turn to us and not fear us too much. So that they can engage with the world and its rules as adventurers and not be oppressed by the weight of it all.

This is a challenge!

Day Twenty of the Omer

Yesod in Tiferet - a solid foundation in the balance of compassion and rigor.

High ideals and values - caring and justice, self and community - can often dominate my thinking when at some point I must entertain how the thing actually applies - where is the solid footing of my grand plan?

As a person who spends much time deliberating, turning those deliberations into something that can be concretely implemented often comes as a wake-up call.

So, aim high and think deeply, and then embrace the need to have a foundation, a connection to the ground on which the plan will happen, we hope.

Day Fifteen of the Omer

Chesed in Tiferet - Compassion in harmoniously balanced beauty.

Our Omer Counting asks us to begin each of our value reflections with compassion and caring. Start with that, and then we have a chance of things working out.

Tiferet, like any representation of beauty, may be susceptible to being over-simplified. When we look at beauty starting with compassion, perhaps a vital aspect will be to kindly inject complexity.

"It's complicated" can be a way of implying something is beautiful in a way that can't be explained. We can offer complexity as a sign that we care, that we understand that the difficulties on the surface may be getting in the way of seeing the harmony within.

Kindness and complexity contribute to a deep sense of beauty.

Day Seven of the Omer

Our final day in the week focusing on compassion and loving-kindness asks us to reflect on Malchut-Rulership - the mystical concept of the intersection between spirituality and action, where we put our principles into reality.

This morning I find myself reflecting on the cessation of acting as a reflection of compassion. Jews, and for that matter, Americans, love to shoot from the hip verbally - we like to respond quickly and definitively. I continue to work on thinking through my actions through a lens of caring before reacting. My silence may be the most compassionate response.

Day 43 of the Omer - kind actions

Chesed in Malchut - kindness and mercy in the dwelling presence of the universe.

We want to act, to make a difference. Let us find compassion for our acting - when we act not as well as we would like we can opt to forgive. When we do not act at all let us avoid blame and doubt.

Be kind and then do with kindness.

The last week of the Omer has begun!

Day 29 of the Omer - Humility and Compassion

Chesed in Hod - compassion in awe and humility.

I find it easy to see compassion coming from our sense of smallness - this allows us to sympathize easily.

We must proceed cautiously lest we get swept up in sympathizing and lose our ability to help out.

We need compassion for ourselves when in the place of grace in our smallness, so that we can avoid powerlessness.

Happy return to Chesed day 1 of week 5!

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Day 22 of the Omer - Self through compassion

Chesed in Netzach - compassionate kindness in eternity of the self.

We can try to see the universe as centered on ourselves, we could be the pivot of all existence - this is the essence of Netzach, eternal victory.

Today, this week, it takes only a little sympathy and compassion to overwhelm all other sentiments as we grapple with tragedy in Boston.

So, Netzach will have to wait a little longer as we focus on coping and kindness. Or, we can see the greatest impact of our selves right now in the extension of care and support to those most in need at a trying time.

I contribute some of my self to Boston today.

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Day 6 of the Omer

Yesod in Chesed - the bridge, or lens, or foundation, in compassion.

Yesod is where we start, a firm footing for our first step into exploring deeper meaning in our lives. It is the bridge to broad horizons from which we can see destinations and ideals.

In attempting to achieve kindness we must have a foot set on something solid as we extend our hand in assistance. Let us find our footing as the first part of reaching out to help.

Knowing something of our destination eases any journey, and traveling towards compassion still asks us to move in the direction of another.

Firm footing on all our journeys and countings!

Day 5 of the Omer

Hod in Chesed - grace, the sense of our smallness, in compassion.

When we see ourselves as small, we connect sympathetically with every one, even every thing. Sympathy can be a source for compassion, and can be essential for kindness in a helpful way.

When we offer help, we often want to contribute in our own way. Assistance may often be most effective when we allow the person we hope to assist to design the manner in which we help.

As a parent might often say to a child, "I need you to help me in the way that I need help, not in the way that you think you need to help."

Assistance requires listening - compassion requires sympathy.

Day 1 of the Omer

Tonight is Chesed in Chesed - Compassion and loving-kindness in itself.

Each of the 49 days between tonight and Shavuot, the next big Jewish holiday represents an Omer, a sheaf of barley brought in for the spring harvest. Since we were dependent on that harvest for food in the summer, this became a time of reflection and renew - a spiritual assessment and directing.

The Kabbalists, Jewish mystics, associated each of the seven easier to grasp sefirot, or Divine spheres of values, with each of the seven weeks, and each day within the week, Hence compassion, the 1st day, in compassion, the 1st week.

For my thought on compassion, I am going to aim to be compassionate to myself when I have not met the mark in being compassionate. In other words, a little self-forgiveness may enable me to better use my compassion energy in the future.

Happy Omer Counting everyone, and Happy Passover!