COUNT THE OMER 5782
Each week, we focus on topics oriented on middah in the way that Tomer Devorah indicates, as such:
WEEK FOUR OMER MATERIALS
NETZACH - GENEROSITY
Tomer Devorah says:
Behold, first of all it is necessary to help students of the Torah and to support them either with money or deeds, so as to provide them with the things they require for their work, to prepare their food, and to fulfill all their desires, so that they do not cease in the study of the Torah …. And one should provide them with books with which to work and with a house of study. All such aid and support to those who study the Torah depends on these qualities; each person should do all they can, whether little or much.
Netzach has the meaning of endurance or continuity and refers to the expression of God’s immanence into a mundane world. We imitate God by being generous to others… and in this way we ensure continuity and a bright future.
KABBALAH - EXERCISE OR ACTION
The practice for this week is to give twice daily, seeking out opportunities to give that include not only money but also your possessions, your time, your caring, etc.
The classic Mussar text Orchot Tzaddikim stresses that generosity can take three forms:
“Money” can include loans, expenditures for mitzvot, as well donations to charity.
“Body” includes doing things for those in need. Examples would be: visiting the sick, helping the elderly with their daily tasks, or caring for the deceased.
Generosity of “wisdom” includes, sharing your knowledge with others (specifically your Torah knowledge), and helping to guide others in their spiritual growth. In helping to guide others, often what is needed is listening to them, which is also a form of generosity.
After you decide what you will give, be mindful of how you give. Be aware that this introduces an extra level of challenge and, obviously, not all the measures mentioned are possible in every case, depending on what you have decided to give.
CHESHBON HA'NEFESH OR ACCOUNTING OF THE SOUL
Each evening (except Friday because of Shabbat), record the experiences and insights regarding whatever showed up in your day relating to the subject of generosity (and, of course, it's opposite of stinginess). Here are some questions to help you get going on reflecting in your journal:
• First, consider your general level of awareness of the middah of generosity and reflect upon any instances of generosity that touched you personally on this day.
• Did you have an opportunity (or opportunities) to do acts of generosity? Did you take any opportunity that came your way, or did you let it pass?
• As you sought to be generous, did you face any struggles? What made it easier for you? Which middot did you find helpful in allowing you to give (generosity, righteousness, gratitude, faith, another?)?
• Were you able to give generously with pure intentions?