hazzan Diana Brewer was ordained through the aleph ordination program. she leads prayer services regularly at the jewish community of amherst, and is on the staff of the davvenen leadership training institute.

Day 2 גבורה שבחסד

Today we explore gevurah facet of the prism of chesed. I have seen this term interpreted a couple of different ways in my wanderings. One is "discipline". Another is "discernment" .  I find these to be two related, yet very different things. 

After sleeping over it, I feel I've come to a bit of an understanding about the relationship and the difference. Today I have the opportunity to ground myself in what it means to discern the appropriate ways in which to express chesed. Is this person wanting/in a place to receive? Is it a good time to offer? Do I have something to offer in this situation, or is it better left to someone else? How does this person/situation wish to be helped?

R'Levy encourages us to create practices that propagate the flow of Divine love. In order to do this, I must take into discernment whether I am willing to do such a thing. It does, after all, take discipline. Am I ready to take this step?

Discipline. This seems to be a facet that has facets! If I am to increase the flow of Divine love in the world around me, I must start by letting the love flow through me - in and out. In my experience, this comes through acts of exquisite self-care. Am I reaching out to the Divine each day? Am I asking for direction? Am I taking the time to listen? Am I taking care of the Holy Mishkan that is my body by tending to the seemingly mundane?

Another facet of this brilliant prism glimmers through my life each day in the form of my daughter. Tending to her calls for great love, tempered with great discernment and discipline. She may think it would be loving of me to let her finish watching the video, even though it is fast approaching her bed time. It may even feel hateful to her when I tell her it's time to turn it off.

In a flip-side example, I think of playing a game with her the other day. She wanted so much to show me how to solve my strategy problem. She could see it clearly! I asked her not to, because I truly wanted to figure it out  myself, even though it was hard and she could have handed it right to me. This was incredibly difficult for her to honor, but it gave me a chance to feel the good feeling of finally puzzling it out, and her the experience of holding back unwanted chesed. I appreciated her deep desire to be helpful, and that was comfort enough. Today, I caught myself in the act of giving her unwanted help!

Blessed Holy One, may I use this day to learn more deeply how to discern what is needed, how to disciplined in honoring that.



Day 1 חסד שב חסד