Your Guide to Personal
Counting the Omer: Week Three
During the third week of Counting the Omer, we examine the
emotional attribute of Tiferet or compassion. Tiferet blends
and harmonizes the free outpouring love of Chesed with the
discipline of Gevurah (discussed last week). Tiferet possesses
this power by introducing a third dimension - the dimension
of truth, which is neither love nor discipline and therefore
can integrate the two. Truth is accessed through selflessness:
rising above your ego and your predispositions, enabling you
to realize truth. Truth gives you a clear and objective picture
of yours and others needs. This quality gives Tiferet
its name, which means beauty: it blends the differing colors
of love and discipline, and this harmony makes it beautiful.
Day 15 - Chesed of Tiferet: Lovingkindness in Compassion
Examine the love aspect of compassion. Ask yourself: Is
my compassion tender and loving or does it come across as
pity? Is my sympathy condescending and patronizing? Even if
my intention is otherwise, do others perceive it as such?
Does my compassion overflow with love and warmth; is it expressed
with enthusiasm, or is it static and lifeless?
Exercise for the day: When helping someone extend yourself
in the fullest way; offer a smile or a loving gesture.
Day 16 - Gevurah of Tiferet: Discipline in Compassion
For compassion to be effective and healthy it needs to
be disciplined and focused. It requires discretion both to
whom you express compassion, and in the measure of the compassion
itself. It is recognizing when compassion should be expressed
and when it should be withheld or limited. Discipline in compassion
is knowing that being truly compassionate sometimes requires
withholding compassion. Because compassion is not an expression
of the bestower's needs but a response to the recipient's
Exercise for the day: Express your compassion in a focused
and constructive manner by addressing someones specific
Day 17 - Tiferet of Tiferet: Compassion in Compassion
True compassion is limitless. It is not an extension of
your needs and defined by your limited perspective. Compassion
for another is achieved by having a selfless attitude, rising
above yourself and placing yourself in the other person's
situation and experience.
Am I prepared and able to do that? If not, why? Do I express
and actualize the compassion and empathy in my heart? What
blocks me from expressing it? Is my compassion compassionate
or self-serving? Is it compassion that comes out of guilt
rather than genuine empathy? How does that affect and distort
my compassion? Test yourself by seeing if you express compassion
even when you don't feel guilty.
Exercise for the day: Express your compassion in a new
way that goes beyond your previous limitations: express it
towards someone to whom you have been callous.
Day 18 - Netzach of Tiferet: Endurance in Compassion
Is my compassion enduring and consistent? Is it reliable
or whimsical? Does it prevail among other forces in my life?
Do I have the capacity to be compassionate even when I'm busy
with other activities or only when it's comfortable for me?
Am I ready to stand up and fight for another?
Exercise for the day: In the middle of your busy day take
a moment and call someone who needs a compassionate word.
Defend someone who is in need of sympathy even if it's not
a popular position.
Day 19 - Hod of Tiferet: Humility in Compassion
If compassion is not to be condescending, it must include
humility. Hod is recognizing that my ability to be compassionate
and giving does not make me better than the recipient; it
is the acknowledgment and appreciation that by creating one
who needs compassion G-d gave me the gift of being able to
bestow compassion. Thus there is no place for haughtiness
Do I feel superior because I am compassionate? Do I look down
at those that need my compassion? Am I humble and thankful
to G-d for giving me the ability to have compassion for others?
Exercise for the day: Express compassion in an anonymous
fashion, not taking any personal credit.
Day 20 - Yesod of Tiferet: Bonding in Compassion
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?
Exercise for the day: Ensure that something eternal is
built as a result of your compassion.
Day 21 - Malchut of Tiferet: Nobility in Compassion
Examine the dignity of your compassion. For compassion
to be complete (and enhance the other six aspects of compassion)
it must recognize and appreciate individual sovereignty. It
should boost self-esteem and cultivate human dignity. Both
your own dignity and the dignity of the one benefiting from
Is my compassion expressed in a dignified manner? Does it
elicit dignity in others? Do I recognize the fact that when
I experience compassion as dignified it will reflect reciprocally
in the one who receives compassion?
Exercise for the day: Rather than just giving charity,
help the needy help themselves in a fashion that strengthens
This is an excerpt from Counting the Omer
A Spiritual Guide by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. This unique
book is now available at our online