Your Guide to Personal
Counting the Omer: Week Two
After the miraculous Exodus from Egypt, the Jewish people
spent 49 days preparing for the most awesome experience in
human history the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Just as the Jewish peoples redemption from Egypt teaches
us how to achieve inner freedom in our lives; so too, this
49 day period, called Sefirat Ha-Omer the Counting
of the Omer, is a time of intense character refinement and
During this time, the aspect of the human psyche that most
requires refinement is the area of the emotions. The spectrum
of human experience consists of seven emotional attributes,
or sefirot. This week we continue Sefirat HaOmer, utilizing
the seven dimensions of the seven emotional attributes. The
first week after Pesach was dedicated to examining the aspect
of chesed, loving-kindness. The second week corresponds to
the emotional attribute of gevurah, discipline or justice.
Week Two Gevurah: Justice, Discipline,
If love (Chesed) is the bedrock of human expression, discipline
(Gevurah) is the channel through which we express love. It
gives our life and love direction and focus. Gevurah - discipline
and measure - concentrates and directs our efforts, our love
in the proper directions.
Day 8 Chesed of Gevurah: Lovingkindness in Discipline
The underlying intention and motive in discipline is love.
Why do we measure our behavior, why do we establish standards
and expect people to live up to them - only because of love.
Chesed of gevurah is the love in discipline; it is the recognition
that your personal discipline and the discipline you expect
of others is only an expression of love. It is the understanding
that we have no right to judge others; we have a right only
to love them and that includes wanting them to be their best.
Ask yourself: when I judge and criticize another is it in
any way tinged with any of my own contempt and irritation?
Is there any hidden satisfaction in his failure? Or is it
only out of love for the other?
Exercise for the day: Before you criticize someone today,
think twice: Is it out of concern and love?
Day 9 - Gevurah of Gevurah: Discipline in Discipline
Examine the discipline factor of discipline: Is my discipline
reasonably restrained or is it excessive? Do I have enough
discipline in my life and in my interactions? Am I organized?
Is my time used efficiently? Why do I have problems with discipline
and what can I do to enhance it? Do I take time each day for
personal accounting of my schedule and accomplishments?
Exercise for the day: Make a detailed plan for spending
your day and at the end of the day see if youve lived
up to it.
Day 10 - Tiferet of Gevurah: Compassion in Discipline
Underlying and driving discipline must not only be love,
but also compassion. Compassion is unconditional love. It
is love just for the sake of love, not considering the others
position. Tiferet is a result of total selflessness in the
eyes of G-d. You love for no reason; you love because you
are a reflection of G-d. Does my discipline have this element
Exercise for the day: Be compassionate to someone you have
Day 11 - Netzach of Gevurah: Endurance in Discipline
Effective discipline must be enduring and tenacious. Is
my discipline consistent or only when forced? Do I follow
through with discipline? Am I perceived as a weak disciplinarian?
Exercise for the day: Extend the plan you made on day two
for a longer period of time listing short-term and long-term
goals. Review and update it each day, and see how consistent
you are and if you follow through.
Day 12 - Hod of Gevurah: Humility in Discipline
The results of discipline and might without humility are
obvious. The greatest catastrophes have occurred as a result
of people sitting in arrogant judgement of others. Am I arrogant
in the name of justice (what I consider just)? Do I ever think
that I sit on a higher pedestal and bestow judgement on my
subjects below? What about my children? Students?
Exercise for the day: Before judging anyone, insure that
you are doing so selflessly with no personal bias
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.
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate to your child or student
how discipline is an expression of intensifying your bond
and commitment to each other.
Day 14 - Malchut of Gevurah: Nobility of Discipline
Discipline, like love, must enhance personal dignity.
Discipline that breaks a person will backfire. Healthy discipline
should bolster self-esteem and help elicit the best in a person;
cultivating his sovereignty. Does my discipline cripple the
human spirit; does it weaken or strengthen me and others?
Exercise for the day: When disciplining your child or student,
foster his self-respect
This day by day analysis will give you the ability to take
an objective look at your subjective emotions. Seeing their
strong and weak points will in turn enable you to apply yourself
to the development and perfection of these feelings as you
grow towards emotional and spiritual maturity.
This is an excerpt from A Spiritual Guide to Counting
the Omer by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. This unique book is
now available at our online