This week, we recall the value of Gevurah–strength through judgement. We are taught that true strength must always be tempered by wisdom just as justice is balanced by mercy. We are given the ability, through judgement, to use our strength for good.
We live in a nation that is the most powerful in the world. America has economic, military, and political strength. Being strong, however, must not mean that we use our power with belligerence or to oppress others. Rather our strength is to be a positive force in our world. America is a beacon of hope for so many people who live in places where strength and power are misused. This country attracts those who wish to add their talents, loyalties, and creativity to add new energy to our nation.
During this first week of the Omer, we recall the strength of Boaz who protected and sheltered Ruth. He welcomed this stranger from Moab and valued her own kindness shown to Naomi. Ruth labored in the fields as a stranger, a widow, an outcast. But Boaz used his strength to provide for her and for her mother-in-law, Naomi.
We who were strangers in Egypt are taught to treat the stranger as the native. We are commanded to protect the outcast, the widow, the orphan, and the poor. We are no longer slaves in Egypt. We are not the outcasts. We are indeed fortunate to benefit from all the gifts that this strong nation bestows upon its inhabitants. Let us use our own spiritual and political powers to ensure welcome to this land for others, especially the undocumented adults and children who seek shelter here in this land of freedom. We stand with Boaz. We stand with Ruth.
Rabbi Samuel Gordon serves Congregation Sukkat Shalom in Wilmette, IL.
This blog is the first in a series from Rabbis Organizing Rabbis connecting the Omer to Immigration Reform.
3 replies on “Omer: Recalling the Value of Gevurah”
A beautiful message to use our strength for good, not only as we count the Omer, but always.
Being a First Generation American, and born in a refugee camp, I wish I could agree with your message.
But when half the population of the earth lives with an income of under $5 a day, and so many are oppressed both nearby and far away, let as also allow them to yearn to be free, and do not prefer simply those that are near by or have reached us without our consent.
Very sound message. I’ve ranted about the destructiveness of intolerance .