Iyyar 6, 5770
It is a beautiful day in my little part of the world. I am so thankful to our Elohim for He is so good....His love and mercy endures forever! The sky is blue, the birds are chirping and singing and the wind is blowing ever so slightly...just a wonderful day!
In yesterday's blog I talked about the counting of the Omer and I listed the Seven Emotional Attributes......these are called Sefirah. Sefirah is a Hebrew word and has several meanings...it means both, "mispar", meaning number and "sipur" as in telling a story. A third root meaning is "sapir", a sapphire stone, which is translucent crystal that shines brightly.
Counting sefirah illuminates the different aspects of our emotional lives. the days of sefirah tell us a story....the story of our souls. These seven emotions and qualities are known in the plural as sefirot.
The purpose of this day by day analysis is to give us the ability to stand back and take an objective look at our subjective emotions. Thus we will see our strong and weak points and this will enable us to have an understanding of how we can better ourselves emotionally for oursekves and our realtionships with others and in our spiritual growth and maturity.
Love is the single most powerful and necessary componant in life. Love is the origin and foundation of all componants in life. Love is both giving and receiving. It allows us to reach above and beyond ourselves; to experience another person and to allow that person to experience us. It is the tool by which we learn to experience the highest reality....GOD.
LOVE IS TRANSCENDENCE
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Follow the way of love................(1 Corinthians 13 & 14:1)
JUSTICE. DISCIPLINE, RESTRAINT, AWE
If love (chesed) is the bedrock of human expression, discipline (gevurah) is the channel through which we express love. It gives our life and love directions and focus. Like a laser beam, its potency lies in the focus and concentration of light in one direction, rather than fragmented light beams dispersed in all directions. Gevurah...discipline and measure...concentrates and directs our efforts, our love, in the proper directions.
Another aspect of gevurah is respect and awe. Healthy love requires respect for the one you love.
For God gave us a Spirit who produces not timidity, but power, love and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7)
When we truly love someone we expect the best for them and we expect them to do their best. We do not judge them instead we do whatever we can to help them be the best they can be.
COMPASSION, HARMONY, TRUTH
Tiferet....compassion blends and harmonizes the free outpouring love of chesed with the discipline of gevurah. Tiferet possesses this power by introducing a third dimension...the dimension of truth, which is neither love nor discipline and therefore can integrate the two. Truth is accessed through selflessness: rising above your ego and your predispiositions, enabling you to realize a higher truth. Truth gives you a clear and objective picture of your and others needs. The imbalance of love and discipline (and for that matter, any distortion) is a result of a subjective, hence limited perspective. Introducing truth, by suspending personal prejudices, allows you to express your feelings (including they synthesis of chesed and gevurah) in the healthiest manner.
This quality gives TIFERET its name, which means BEAUTY: it blends the differing colors of love and discipline, and this harmony makes it beautiful.
Someone once said the difference between sympathy and compassion is that the one who sympathizes, sees and feels, but does nothing. The one who has compassion, sees, feels and then does something about the need. Yeshua always had compassion on the crowd and the people He came in contact with. He did something about their needs. And so we as His followers, must also bear our cross and follow Him. Be like Yeshua!
Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.1 John 3:18
To have compassion is to be kind in all we think, do and say....
Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is kindness in everything we think, say, want, and do.
Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person.
Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.
Yeshua said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." and "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34, 35).
ENDURANCE, FORTITUDE, AMBITION
Endurance and ambition is a combination of determination and tenacity. It is a balance of patience, persistence and guts. Endurance is also being reliable and accountable which establishes security and commitment. Without endurance, any good endeavor or intention has no chance of success.
Endurance means to be alive, to be driven by healthy and productive goals. It is the readiness to fight for what you believe, to go all the way. Without such commitment any undertaking remains flat and empty. It is an energy that comes from within and stops at nothing to acheive irts goals. This, of course, requires that endurance be closely examined to ensure that it is used in a healthy and productive way.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. ...James 1:12-18
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,Romans 5:3-4
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, Colossians 1:11
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, Romans 15:5
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
ASK YOURSELF.....How commited am I to my values? How much would I fight for them? Am I easily swayed? What price am I ready to pay for my beliefs? Is there any truth for which I am ready to give my life?
If endurance is the engine of life, humility is its fuel. As gevurah (discipline) gives chesed (love) focus, HOD gives netzach (endurance) direction. Humility is the silent partner of endurance. Its strength is in its silence. Its splendor is in its repose.
HUMILITY...and its resulting yeilding...should not be confused with weakness and lack of self-esteem. humility is modesty; it is acknowledgment (from the root of the Hebrew word, "hoda' ah"). It is saying "thank you" to God. It is clearly recognising your qualities and strengths and acknowledging that they are not your own; they were given to you by God for a higher purpose than just satisfying your own needs. Humility is modesty; it is recognising how small you are which allows you to realize how large you can become. And that makes humility so formidable.
Endurance draws its energy from the acknowledgment of humility. Human endurance goes only as far as your tolerance level. Acknowledgment that your strengths come from a highter place gives you the power to endure far beyond your own perceived capacity. it gives you part of God's enduring strength.
A full cup cannot be filled. when you're filled with yourself and your needs, "I and nothing else", there is no room for more. When you "empty
" yourself before something greater than yourself, your capacity to receive increases beyond your previously perceived limits. Humilty is the key to transcendence to reach beyond yourself. Only true humility gives you the power of objectivity.
Humility is sensitivity It is healthy shame that comes from recognising that you can be better than you are and that you can expect more of yourself.
Although humility is silent, it is not a void. It is a dynamic expression of life that includes all seven qualities of love, discipline, compasion, endurance, humility, bonding, and sovereignty. Humilty is active not passive, not a state of being but an interaction even in its calm and inaction.
*Forty-Nine Steps To Personal Refinement According To The Jewish Tradition by Rabbi Simon Jacobson