Counting the Omer Day 33: Hod of Hod

HodHod of Hod: Humility of Humility. Today, the 33rd day of counting the omer, is also known as Lag b’Omer (“lag” are the Hebrew letters representing 33, “l” = 30, “g” = 3). It’s an Israeli holiday known for building bonfires, but it’s also the yartzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), the 2nd century mystic.

As such, Rashbi is an appropriate symbol for today’s character trait, humility. He’s one of the premier mystics in the Jewish tradition, and mystics are known for both deep learning of esoteric subjects, and a deep spiritual connection with God. Both of those things require humility. Learning requires having the humility to admit you don’t know something. A deep connection with God requires being aware of your smallness compared to God’s greatness.

Mussar teaches us

Always seek to learn wisdom from every man, to recognize your failings and correct them. In doing so you will learn to stop thinking about your virtues and you will take your mind off your friend’s faults.

The book of Proverbs tells us “every proud man is a fool.”

There is a teaching where God says “I cannot abide in the same space with a haughty spirit.” If you are proud and full of yourself you have no room for God in your heart.

Today, hod of hod, is focused on the essence of humility. How authentic is your humility? You have to be careful not to take pride in how humble you are!

Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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