Well, my gevurah ( discipline) needs a little work, because I missed the day right after I vowed to post a daily reflection on the counting of the Omer. But I have a good excuse: I was busy living this week's quality (Tiferet, compassion). On Sunday, along with 15,000 other Jews, Christians, Muslims, liberals, conservatives, and everything in between and on either end, I was at the Darfur rally in Washington, DC. I wish more people had shown up, but was greatly encouraged by a crowd that cut completely across religious and political lines.
I didn't do very much, just sat in the sun, ate fruit, and listened to speeches underscoring my own opinions. It was almost too easy; my biggest challenge of the day was waking up on time. But I was there. I counted. This, said the rabbi on our way back home, is what creates a kiddush hashem (sanctification of God's name). Mourners at a shiva minyan don't do much, either, but their very presence helps honor someone's memory and ease someone's grief. The appearance (and absence) of thousands at the rally spoke louder than any one speech ever could. Today was the 18th day of the Omer, Netzah (endurance) of Tiferet (compassion); I hope and pray that we have the patience and stamina to remain standing for Darfur for as long as it takes to get noticed by our government, and the rest of the world.
Tonight begins the 19th day of the Omer, Hod of Tiferet: Humility in Compassion. Rabbi Jacobson writes:
If compassion is not to be condescending and pretentious, it must include humility... Do I feel superior because I am compassionate?... Am I humble and thankful to God for giving me the ability to have compassion for others?
It was certainly easy to feel proud of myself yesterday. What a grand, kvetch-worthy sacrifice I made: oy, the bus is leaving so early! Where's the sunscreen? Too many people on the Metro. We're getting back so late; when will I do the laundry? Those for whom we rallied would love to have freedom enough to make such complaints. I need a little more of the Hod that never lets me forget this truth.