Contact Us

Day Two of Week 3: Gevurah of Tiferet

Day Two of Week 3: Gevurah of Tiferet

16th Day of the Omer

 Email

For compassion to be effective and healthy it needs to be disciplined and focused. It requires discretion both to whom you express compassion, and in the measure of the compassion itself. It is recognizing when compassion should be expressed and when it should be withheld or limited. Discipline in compassion is knowing that being truly compassionate sometimes requires withholding compassion. Because compassion is not an expression of the bestower's needs but a response to the recipient's needs. Am I more compassionate with strangers than with close ones? If yes, why? Is the compassion coming from guilt? Does my compassion for others compromise my own needs? Am I helping others at the expense of helping myself? Perhaps the contrary is the case: Does my compassion for my family and close ones overshadow others needs? Is my compassion impulsive and careless? Do I assess the measure of compassion necessary for a given situation? Is it commensurate with the recipient's needs? Can I possibly be hurting him with my compassion? Does my compassion overwhelm others? Is it respectful? Do I give too much or too little? Do others take advantage of my compassionate nature? When I see a needy person do I impetuously express compassion out of guilt or pity without any discretion? Do I commit the "crime" of compassion by helping him with something harmful (give him money to buy a harmful substance etc.)? Do I apply myself to determine this person's needs and help him in the best way possible?

Exercise for the day: Express your compassion in a focused and constructive manner by addressing someone's specific needs.

From A Spiritual Guide to the Omer by Simon Jacobson
Republished with the permission of MeaningfulLife.com. If you wish to republish this article in a periodical, book, or website, please email permissions@meaningfullife.com
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
7 Comments
1000 characters remaining
jim dallas April 26, 2017

a never ending ordeal...a human dilemma but a responsibility. Reply

BA Kress Austin May 8, 2016

Wonderful Balance I want to commend you for the wonderful balance you've achieved in this discussion of the discipline we must apply to our exercise of compassion.

Thank you! Reply

Madube Zambia April 30, 2014

Thank you for the eye opening.in my acts of compassion I find myself entering s into debts because I can help it seeing someone in need. Reply

sasha South Africa April 30, 2014

I was just at the point of thinking I have no more compassion left. People around me need help all the time. I have seen how helping isn't helping, but I did feel bad about stopping this help. At least I feel better about it. I find that financial help is the worst help. It seems to make people dependent instead of creative. Still, it's an on going work figuring out how to and who to feel compassion for. Your essay is of great help clarifying the issue. Blessings. Reply

Tom Mornane Goldcoast April 20, 2013

Eye opening! My compassion hurts people, and my ability to grow at times. Rabbi. I have not been discerning enough.

Thank you for opening my eyes to this. Reply

Anonymous daly city April 22, 2012

Compassion Very challenging. The meditation essay makes many good points, but I disagree with trying to "measure" how much compassion I give in relation to the recipients' needs. How would I know exactly the extent of someone's needs?
Compassion flows from an open,loving heart. Yes, one should be focused and not overwhelm a person, but better to give compassion lovingly or at least because of a sense of obligation, then not at all. Reply

zeynep istanbul May 5, 2011

16th day of the Omer This was an immense help to me as I was born on the 16th day of the Omer.So much insight, so much to meditate upon, so many yardsticks against which to measure my comporting myself. Invaluble. Thank you Rabbi Simon Jacobson. Reply

Related Topics
This page in other languages