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 8 חסד שבגברה

Chesed SheBeGevurah. Loving-kindness within strength, discipline, restraint, discernment.

As we begin this week of delving into the attribute of Gevurah, I am extremely aware of my need for such a week! I have been very distracted by shiny, new things (like the writing of this blog), and noticing complacency start to seep in around important intentions.

I need discipline. Discipline has, quite literally, saved my life. I need strength. Strength helps me to hold resolve and establish boundaries when it would be easier to give in to a tantrum. I need restraint. Restraint keeps me from putting my foot in my mouth more frequently than I care to admit. I need discernment, judgement, discretion. These help me evaluate decisions and find the path that will best serve me and those I love.

Gevurah also calls for judgement or discernment in relationships. We need the ability to asses others in order to understand the nature of the Chesed we are called to provide or the boundaries that need to be established. This day tells us to be generous in our assessments. Pirkei Avot 1:6 instructs us: Assume for yourself a master [Gevurah], acquire for yourself a friend [Chesed], and judge every man on the side of merit [Chesed SheBeGevurah]. 

Happily for me, this first day of our new week brings me into Gevurah, "sweetened" with Chesed. Gevurah and Chesed are balancing forces. Kabbalah describes Chesed as "the arm that draws near" and Gevurah as "the arm that repels." Gevurah is necessary to the development of a functional, competent self. Without Chesed, however, it would be harsh, stiff, unforgiving.

As I enter this week of developing different aspects of Gevurah, today I can focus on reaching out with the arm of Chesed as I work to establish and maintain the boundaries that are integral to living a functional life.

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

For a couple of different Omer counting guides try mishkan.org or chabad.org


Day 9 גבורה דבגבורה

Day 7 מלכות שבחסד