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Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.

Today is 17 days, which is two weeks and three days of the Omer.

Tiferet which literally means beauty, is the combining of the two previous attributes of love and might. When we apply self-control as we demonstrate love for each other, we find harmony.

An orchestra is made of many members, each with their own instrument and piece of music. If each member played their favorite song without regard to those around him, playing as loud or soft as they desired, anyone within fifty feet would be sent running for cover. Kind of like the preconcert warm-up time. In contrast if the group agreed to play the same song in the same key, using a choreographed score such that the different instruments played what was best for their instrument all in tempo with each other... a beautiful melody would be produced, wooing hearers closer.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:4-6 NIV

Let's use another example. When my boys were small we encouraged them to try different sports. While each is a good athlete, they differ in their gifts. In our driveway they would team up 2-on-2. That's where they learned to dunk, shoot and defend. Houser-driveway basketball has few rules and since there are no referees, anything goes. At some point in the driveway game someone will become frustrated, injured or just tired, game over. A few times our sons have played on organized basket teams, but this has taken some major adjustments in their playing technique. Instead of a team of 1 or 2, there are now four other players. One coach commented on one son's team participation, "he doesn't realize there are others on the court to help him." When I explained he learned to play in the driveway with only a brother or two, the coach just laughed. As each son has matured and grown as an athlete, they have learned the value of team, and how a team can accomplish more together.

Self-control, or strength applied in love, kindness, with teamwork or friendship, helps the members of a group harness their individual desires for the benefit of the group. Sure there are differing levels of abilities, gifts and talents with some worthy of individual attention, but even solo performances are made more beautiful with accompaniment.

As always, our best example is Christ. He was subject to ridicule from many...

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Matthew 27:39-40 NIV

While our LORD could have rescued Himself....

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Matthew 26:53 NIV

Yet Jesus stayed on the cross, because of HIs love and His omnipotent strength and might in order to accomplish the goal to bring each of us into a harmonic relationship with the King of the Universe.

Holy Father God, we seek Your heart, full of love for us, and Your strength that we may have self-control to harness the desires of the flesh such that we may live in harmony with You and our fellow man. May we glorify You as the Most High King of the Universe, our Savior Jesus Christ and our helper the Holy Spirit in all we do and say. Amen.

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