This is the seventh of the the seven weeks of the Counting of the Omer. Each week is associated with one of the seven lower sefirot—the seven metaphoric vessels through which divinity passes as it enters into the realm of our existence. Week seven is the sefirah of malchut—the divine quality of nobility. (For a chart of the sefirot, see the Resources page.) During this final week before Shavuot, I must pass through the gates in which I ponder my capacity for nobility.
Wednesday is the 43rd day of the Counting of the Omer, and it is the day of chesed within malchut—love within nobility. A leader must be considerate and compassionate toward those who follow. I ask, am I gracious and caring for others in the ways I exhibit leadership? Do I use authority in ways that nurture compassion, or is it just for my own aggrandizement? How is the way I am the leader of my own life marked by self-care?
Thursday is the 44th day, the day of g'vurah within malchut, discipline within nobility. The way we lead people says more about us than our stated leadership goals. A leader who has lofty and worthy goals, but who is undisciplined in the use of authority, can do more harm than good. As a rabbi, and as a human being, I must ask myself if I use restraint when I exercise authority.
Friday, the 45th day of the Omer, is the day of tiferet within malchut, balance within nobility. Is there balance and harmony in the way I lead others? Am I clear with people about what I want from them?
Shabbat is the 46 day of the Omer and it asks a vital question about the nature of leadership. As I ponder netzach within malchut—endurance within nobility—I wonder if the noble goals I set for myself and for others will last. Do I have the tenacity to make my values and my ambitions real by committing to them over the long haul? A true champion must be ready to put up with setbacks. Will I stick it out through times of darkness, disappointment and despair?
Sunday will be day 47, the day of hod within malchut, humility within nobility. What may seem like a oxymoron is actually the deepest test of nobility. True nobility and true leadership must begin with the realization that it is not about the self. As a leader, I must be able to put my personal interests aside for the sake of something greater.
Next Monday will be the 48th day of the Omer and the day of yesod within malchut, connection within nobility. Does my authority over others keep me distant from them, or does my authority continue to emerge from connection to others?
The last day of the Counting of the Omer—day 49—is the day of malchut within malchut, nobility within nobility. The questions raised on this day are the summation of the previous seven weeks. Do I constantly strive to take the next step in my own development. How am I taking leadership responsibility for myself in the pursuit of my own goals to achieve nobility?
Before we can accept the joy and the fulfillment of the next day—Shavuot and the giving of the Torah—we must be willing once again to to say na'aseh v'nishma, "we will do and we will listen." To stand again at the foot of Sinai and receive the Torah, we must be ready to make the life-altering choice to become the champions of our own lives!