Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back on the After-Divestment Tract

Once a year in the Jewish community, after Passover, we go over our attributes and revise, improve, repair....so..here is a flashback post on this topic:

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So onwards and upwards, we keep going towards self improvement. I won't even hope to have time to blog about it so this will be it. I didn't get to week one which was about kindness, but we are already on week 2 so lets begin there. (hopefully I can back track later).

One thing many people do after Passover,(as I've stated before in a previous post) we arrange ourselves to merit past recent miracles and position ourselves to receive more. This week is a look at Gevurah --restraint and strength, and taking.

How much is too much? How much is too little?

Gevurah is represented by the left hand. It stands for holding back and for being strong. Its like a red light warning us of poison or danger ahead or a stop sign. Gevurah personified was Isaac. At times I wonder, was it because of Abraham's great lovingkindness that Isaac became almost opposite? Anyway, Isaac was so restraining on himself that he would re-open only the wells that Abraham had made previously. Very rarely does he create a new well. He tried to follow in his father's footstep quite meticulously. Even dealing with almost the same problems as Abraham (going into Egypt, dealing with someone who wants his wife, calling his wife his sister, building wells, etc)

Gevurah is like going all the way to the left. Perfectly. Although, interestingly, he was the one personified as the gevurah one, (holding back his will when Abraham was about to sacrifice him) but Isaac is the only one I know of where the Bible describes him as having fun and being playful with his wife!


8 And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. Genesis 26:8


Also, his name Yitzhok in Hebrew is from the root word "to laugh"
Gevurah with a measure of kindness (the right hand) brings us to beauty (tiferet). A beautiful blend of giving and taking. Pretty interesting for someone whose known for their restrain.

Gevurah with a measure of kindness with the goal being to restrain brings us to empathy. Being able to help and be kind SPECIFICALLY BY not being intrusive or domineering. Like a therapist, just listening to a friend without judging or giving your input (unless they ask).

Gevurah with a measure of more gevurah =very rigid. At times this is necessary. But the key question is when?

Gevurah with beauty = holding back to give and /or take beautifully. This makes me think of myself trying not to punish the children out of my own anger and hurt dignity, but because they need to know that something is wrong. That already softens whatever punishment they get, plus it allows that the punishment corresponds to the "crime" -no heat.

Gevurah with domineering intent (netzah) = Being strong or empathetic consistantly. Not wishy washy. For example,in the work place you may do a feat which shows gevurah, strength. But with not being consistent in that strength, that image goes limp. You loose the dominion -no longer known for being solid, or whatever it was that you did.

However, if you remain consistent, showing strength, discipline, focus without falling for judging others, criticizing, etc. you can corner whatever market, group, field, provided you have the knowledge to back up this character!

The hardest part to control is the tongue.

Gevurah with a measure of yesod (I'm not sure how to translate yesod: foundation. sexual purity. creativity?) = This is basically being empathetic with a good measure of dominance. Knowing how wide you want to make the playing field for the other person, and not fuddling with the borders for your own sake.

Gevurah and malkhut (kingship)= All the previous traits noted above were things that emanate from yourself. Malkhut is the trait that receives from others and gives back. So exercising gevurah while giving back is basically maintaining you cool in a tough situation. At a time when you have to be strong, restraining, etc. knowing how to keep your cool is a worthwhile ability.

That is the focus for this week. Hopefully I can write more about it later. The most important thing of all is prayer though. No matter how much we work on ourselves, verbalizing what we want to attain and combining it with faith in God helps.

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