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Count the Omer. 49 transformative steps

Counting the Omer with Bonni Kraus

Day 33 — Lag b'Omer – Loving Uprightness

Ohev et HaMeisharimאוהב את המישרים

By Roann Altman, Ann Arbor, MI

Bonni and Steve Kraus honoring the Omer birthday of their two grandchildren. Melrose Park, PA
Bonni and Steve Kraus honoring the Omer birthday of two of their grandchildren. Melrose Park, PA

What does it mean to be upright? We likely recognize uprightness when we see it, but what are the specific attributes of uprightness? From an alternate rendering of the Mishnah on which our teachings are based, Ohev et HaTz’dakot, we know that it means to be fair and just, to arrive at a place of Truth. But Ohev et HaMeisharim seems to require that we not only take responsibility to ensure justice for all, as The Melekh – God as King would do, but also act with kindness, as the compassionate E-l Rachum God would do.

Now the command is to Love Uprightness. Why not just Be Upright? Perhaps in the absence of a comprehensive list of attributes of uprightness, it is only possible to deduce what it means by identifying those we know to be upright and emulating their behavior. We will recognize them as those who lead a life based on the higher principles of Justice and Truth, those who are not swayed by their ego or by self-interest. If we are looking to people as models, then, the Hebrew Ohev et HaMeisharim, translated as “Love the Upright,” makes even more sense: by loving the upright, we will bring them closer to us, become more like them, and move toward greater uprightness ourselves.

As a Mussar practice, you might think of someone you consider to be upright. What attributes make this person upright in your eyes? Open your heart to that person with love. Appreciate them for being in your life and for serving as a model of uprightness. Identify others who reflect traits of uprightness and love them as well. Now consider which attributes of your models might you bring into your own life so that you, too, can be upright and then serve as a model of uprightness for others.

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