The Kind Judge

B”H

gevurah shebbe malchus

(strength within sovereignty)

Gevurah represents discipline, severity, and judgment; incidentally, gevurah is the opposite of chesed (kindness). Malchut (sovereignty) is often denoted as autonomy, for the sake of this series that explores the sefirot as middot (character traits), during the seven week counting of the Omer.

G-d’s sovereignty is made known through His commandments; his gevurah (strength, justice, severity) through his judgments. On the otherhand, His attribute of chesed (mercy) is exhibited through His kindness. These two attributes work in tandem.

If He did not let His judgments be known through His interactions within the affairs of the world, He would appear to be tolerant of mankind’s shortcomings to the extent of a permissiveness that would convey a lax attitude on His part, as if any behavior on our part is acceptable. Yet, when we turn our hearts towards Him, He will bestow kindnesses upon us.

Moreover, He will help us improve ourselves, so that we will not fall under judgment. Because His expectations of us are clear, as represented by His commandments, His judgment is valid. Yet, often His judgment is in the form of chastisement, designed to compel us to return from our errant ways. As is written, “For whom the L-RD loveth He correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Proverbs 3:12).

Day 44

Reflect Kindness

B”H

Day 43

28 Iyar 5780 (May 22, 2020)

chesed shebbe malchus

(kindness within sovereignty)

Today begins a seven day focus on malchus (sovereignty), in combination with the other six emotional attributes. The first of these to be explored in relationship to malchus is chesed (kindness, mercy, love). Malchus (sovereignty) may be said to represent autonomy. Human beings are created in G-d’s image, so we are obligated by our godly nature, at least to make an attempt to reflect His attributes. We were also given free will; therefore, to varying degrees, we may seek an autonomous stance in life; yet, to see ourselves as independent of G-d would only be self-deception.

In our quest to seek autonomy in life, to define ourselves as an individual, with a unique personality, we should add a measure of kindness. It is not necessary to shout, “this is who I am;” rather, simply to assert ourselves in regard to our personal viewpoints. Be kind to others; allow them to express their own viewpoints; give warm regard for shared thoughts about life, the universe, and G-d. Healthy respect for the autonomy of others includes allowing enough space for others to share; spiritual growth thrives when given room to grow. Sometimes this requires silence on our part, for the sake of listening.

Day 43

Practical Goals

B”H

Hod shebbe yesod

(humility within foundation)

Humility facilitates the building of a foundation in life, by keeping our ambition in check; any goal in life needs to be practical, that is within the bounds of our abilities. We are finite beings, only capable of what G-d intends for us, through His bestowal of any natural gifts we may claim as part of our character. While it is good to reach beyond our current level of understanding, as well as our talents, we should be circumspect in order to make a modest estimation of our capabilities. Yet, at the same time, building a foundation also requires a healthy acknowledgment and appreciation of our talents, so that we may succeed at achieving our realized dreams. Additionally, we need to acknowledge G-d’s role as the Master Architect, whose blueprint for our lives compels us to keep Him in mind at all times, while we make plans for ourselves. 

Omer

realize your dream

B”H

Netzach shebbe yesod

(endurance within foundation)

The emotional correspondents of the day are netzach (endurance) within yesod (foundation). Building a foundation in life requires a persistent endeavor. It is through netzach that goals may be brought to fruition. The quality of endurance, constant effort despite the challenges in life, gives us the tenacity to achieve our dreams. Yet, the actual building of a foundation in life, requires channeling one’s ideas into a realized dream. To dream is not enough; rather, to accomplish one’s dreams, in the actual sense, is to draw on the quality of netzach.

Yesod: Foundation

B”H

Today begins seven days of emphasis on the character trait (middah) of yesod, meaning foundation, amongst other renderings, such as covenant, bonding, and Tzaddik (Righteous One). Where is the stability in our lives? Are the factors in our lives that make up our stability a constant? Or are we standing on shifting sands?

G-d is key to my foundation in life. If at all possible, I would hope and pray that every aspect of my life be permeated by His wisdom. Today’s unique combination of sefirot, expressed as middot (soul attributes), is chesed shebbe yesod (mercy within foundation). Chesed may also be rendered as love, kindness, or loving-kindness. How is my foundation built? If not with love as a quality that can be found within all of the building blocks, then how will that structure provide shelter for others?

consistency and endurance

B”H

Omer 24th day

tiferes shebbe netzach

(harmony within endurance)

Harmony within a person’s psyche may contribute to a sense of endurance, in regard to life’s goals, challenges, and world view. In order to “stay on track,” so to speak, having a consistency of values helps one to endure. On the other hand competing ideas, emotions, or behaviors may cause the soul to lose focus on its objectives in life. May H’Shem have mercy on us, so that we may not stray from the derech (path). May we be able to endure all of the challenges that we may face over time, while remaining consistent on our adherence to the blueprints of the Torah.

sovereignty of harmony

B”H

Omer Count: Day 21

malchus shebbe tiferes

sovereignty within harmony

The sovereignty of G-d over His creation is tantamount to keeping order in the world, from His perspective. In our own lives, we are also granted a certain amount of autonomy, that should not be taken for granted; rather, our sense of direction is best understood within the greater context of our relationship with G-d, as well as our fellow human beings.

With that in mind, consider how important these relationships are to our own sense of well being. No man is an island; we all need some amount of social interaction, to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon the individual. Additionally, as limited beings, we need to turn to our Creator for comfort, guidance, and inspiration, including doing so by way of reading Kitvei Kodei (Holy Scripture).

Therefore, lifting ourselves up above our station in life, trying to make ourselves out to be more than who we really are is presumptuous and prideful. If anything, at this current time, we should reflect on our dependency on G-d and other like-minded people in our social, religious, or academic mileu, in order to comprehend that harmony within, is a two-way street.

humility of harmony

B”H

hod shebbe tiferes

humility within harmony

Humility may serve to temper a false sense of harmony within, by compelling a soul to recognise that any sense of inner peace is often fragile, especially if that peace is not drawn from a higher source. Are we willing to admit to ourselves, that we are dependent on many circumstances, needs, and expectations to maintain our peace? To think otherwise is to lack honesty with ourselves, for the only way to transcend the requirements that we set for ourselves to bring us peace, a fragile peace, is to turn to G-d for our strength.

discipline within harmony

B”H

April 25, 2020

Counting of the Omer 5780

gevurah shebbe tiferes

(discipline within harmony)

Tiferes may also be rendered as “compassion;” perhaps, because an inner harmony is important, in order to be sincerely compassionate towards another human being. Therefore, in considering the significance of discipline within compassion, we may remind ourselves that a show of compassion without boundaries, as good as this may sound, may not always be wise. Rather, compassion should be shown in a selfless way to others, in measure with the required amount of kindness due to the recipient.

Think of some other examples for yourselves.