Counting the Omer: Week Five
During the fifth week of counting the Omer, we examine and refine the emotional attribute of Hod or humility. Humility – and the resulting yielding – should not be confused with weakness and lack of self-esteem. Hod or humility is modesty – it is acknowledgment (from the root of the Hebrew word “hoda’ah”). It is saying “thank you” to G-d. It is clearly recognizing your qualities and strengths and acknowledging that they are not your own; they were given to you by G-d for a higher purpose than just satisfying your own needs. Humility is modesty; it is recognizing how small you are which allows you to realize how large you can become. And that makes humility so formidable.
A full cup cannot be filled. When you’re filled with yourself and your needs, “I and nothing else”, there is no room for more. When you “empty” yourself before something greater than yourself, your capacity to receive increases beyond your previously perceived limits. Humility is the key to transcendence; to reach beyond yourself. Only true humility gives you the power of total objectivity. Humility is sensitivity; it is healthy shame out of recognition that you can be better than you are and that you can expect more of yourself. Although humility is silent it is not a void. It is a dynamic expression of life that includes all seven qualities of love, discipline, compassion, endurance, humility, bonding and sovereignty.
Day 29 – Chesed of Hod: Lovingkindness in Humility
Examine the love in your humility. Healthy humility is not demoralizing; it brings love and joy not fear. Humility that lacks love has to be reexamined for its authenticity. Sometimes humility can be confused with low self-esteem, which would cause it to be unloving. Humility brings love because it gives you the ability to rise above yourself and love another. Does my humility cause me to be more loving and giving? More expansive? Or does it inhibit and constrain me?
Exercise for the day: Before praying with humility and acknowledgment of G-d, give some charity. It will enhance your prayers.
Day 30 – Gevurah of Hod: Discipline in Humility
Humility must be disciplined and focused. When should my humility cause me to compromise and when not? In the name of humility do I sometimes remain silent and neutral in the face of wickedness? Humility must also include respect and awe for the person or experience before whom you stand humble. If my humility is wanting, is it because I don’t respect another?
Exercise for the day: Focus in on your reluctance to commit in a given area to see if it originates from a healthy, humble place.
Day 31 – Tiferet of Hod: Compassion in Humility
Examine if your humility is compassionate. Does my humility cause me to be self-contained and anti-social or does it express itself in empathy for others. Is my humility balanced and beautiful? Or is it awkward? Just as humility brings compassion, compassion can lead one to humility. If you lack humility, try acting compassionately, which can help bring you to humility.
Exercise for the day: Express a humble feeling in an act of compassion.
Day 32 – Netzach of Hod: Endurance in Humility
Examine the strength and endurance of your humility. Does my humility withstand challenges? Am I firm in my positions or do I waffle in the name of humility? Humility and modesty should not cause one to feel weak and insecure. Netzach of Hod underscores the fact that true humility does not make you into a “doormat” for others to step on; on the contrary, humility gives you enduring strength. Is my humility perceived as weakness? Does that cause others to take advantage of me?
Exercise for the day: Demonstrate the strength of your humility by initiating or actively participating in a good cause.
Day 33 – Hod of Hod: Humility in Humility
Everyone has humility and modesty in their hearts, the question is the measure and manner in which one consciously feels it. Am I afraid to be too humble? Do I mask and protect my modesty with aggressive behavior? Humility must also be examined for its genuineness. Is my humility humble? Or is it yet another expression of arrogance? Do I take too much pride in my humility? Do I flaunt it? Is it self-serving? Is my humility part of a crusade or is it genuine?
Exercise for the day: Be humble just for its own sake.
Day 34 – Yesod of Hod: Bonding in Humility
Humility should not be a lonely experience. It ought to result in deep bonding and commitment. There is no stronger bond than one that comes out of humility. Does my humility separate me from others or bring us closer? Does my humility produce results? Long term results? Does it create an everlasting foundation upon which I and others can rely and build.
Exercise for the day: Use your humility to build something lasting.
Day 35 – Malchut of Hod: Nobility in Humility
Walking humbly is walking tall. Dignity is the essence of humility and modesty. The splendor of humility is majestic and aristocratic. Humility that suppresses the human spirit and denies individual sovereignty is not humility at all. Does my humility make me feel dignified? Do I feel alive and vibrant?
Exercise for the day: Teach someone how humility and modesty enhance human dignity.
This is an excerpt from “Counting the Omer – A Spiritual Guide” by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. This unique book is now available at our online store.