Counting the Omer: Day 8
On this, the 8th day of the Omer, we look at Chesed and Gevurah, love and discipline.
According to tradition, discipline is linked to love. We discipline ourselves and others out of love. We try to follow rules through which we show our love for God, Judaism, ourselves and others. We also need discipline with our love.
As Reform Jews, we are not obligated to follow set rules. We can develop “rules” that work for us, that fit our lives, rules that add to our spiritual growth. We look within ourselves to find what disciplines we need and want in our lives, those that give our lives meaning.
We can set our own disciplines. We can set goals for ourselves that aid us in showing our love for others, for God, for Judaism, for ourselves.
We can discipline ourselves to take care of our self, thus showing love to my self. If we eat properly, stay active and attend to our spiritual needs, we will be showing love to ourselves that will enable us to also reach out to others.
We reach out to others with love, we offer others our support, our advice (when asked) and parts of ourselves. We give to others in many ways: financially (helping to support the temple), time (volunteering at the temple or spending time with a friend), emotionally (being understanding and listening to friends), physically (helping a friend shop, go to appointments, clean house, eat).
In the Haggadah we read last week, it tells us to state “Let ALL who are hungry come and eat.” It doesn’t specify categories of people to include or exclude, it says very clearly, let ALL. How do we do this? By inviting new people into our homes for Seder, for Shabbat, for fellowship.
The Omer reminds us to have both love and discipline in our lives. May this year be the year we set new guidelines for how we live, for how we reach out to others and how we attend to our own spiritual growth.