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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

3rd week of the Omer

WEEK 3 – “TIFERET” – Harmony and Compassion

During the third week of our ‘sfirah’, we will examine the emotional attribute of ‘tiferet’ or compassion. ‘Tiferet’ 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 gives you a clear and objective picture of yours and others needs.

Truth is accessed through selflessness, rising above your ego and your own predispositions enabling you to realize the purity of truth. This quality gives ‘tiferet’ it’s name, which means beauty: it blends the differing colors of love and discipline and this harmony makes it beautiful.

Day 15: “Chesed of Tiferet” – Loving-kindness in Compassion
Examine the love aspect of your compassion. Does our compassion express tenderness and love or does it come across as pity? Is my sympathy condescending and patronizing? Even if my intentions are good, do others perceive it that way? Does my compassion overflow with love and warmth, is it expressed with enthusiasm or is it static and lifeless?

Exercise for the day: When helping someone, make sure to do it in the fullest way as well as offering a smile or a loving gesture.

Day 16: “Gevurah of Tiferet” – Discipline in Compassion
For compassion to be effective and healthy, we need to be disciplined and focused. It requires discretion from both to whom you express compassion, and in the measure of the compassion itself. It is recognizing when compassion should be expressed and when it should be withheld or limited. Discipline in compassion is knowing that being truly compassionate sometimes requires withholding compassion. Compassion is not an expression of the bestowers needs but a response to the needs of others.

Exercise for the day: Express your compassion in a focused and constructive manner by addressing needs specifically.

Day 17: “Tiferet of Tiferet” – Compassion in Compassion
True compassion is without measure or end. It is not an extension of our njeeds nor canit be defined by our limited perspective. Compassion for another is having a selfless attitude, rising above yourself and placing yourself in the postion of the other person. Am I prepared or even able to do that? If not, why? Do I express the compassion and empathy? What blocks me from expressing it? Is my compassion genuine or self serving? Is it compassion that comes out of guilt rather than empathy? How does this distort and affect my compassion? Test yourself by seeing if you can feel compassion without feeling guilty.

Exercise for the day: Express your compassion in a new way that goes beyond your previous limitations. Express it towards someone that you have wronged. Compassion can lead to restoration.

Day 18: “Netzach of Tiferet” – Endurance and Eternalization of Compassion
Is my compassion enduring and consistent or is it whimsical? Can it prevail amongst the other forces present in my life? Do I have the capacity to be compassionate when all the pressures of work and family are upon me? Do I only show compassion when I have the time to be compassionate? Am I ready to stand up and defend another?

Exercise for the day: In the middle of your busy work schedule take a moment to call someone who needs a compassionate word of encouragement. Defend someone in need of compassion even if that is not a popular decision.

Day 19: “Hod of Tiferet” – Humilty and Honor in Compassion
If compassion is not to be condescending, it must include humility and honor for the other person. Hod is recognizing that my ability to be compassionate and giving does not make me better than the recipient. It is the acknowledgement and appreciation that by creating one who needs compassion YHVH has given me the gift of being able to bestow compassion. There is no place for pride when it comes to compassion.

Do I feel superior because I am compassionate? Do I look down at those who need compassion from me? Am I humble and thankful to YHVH for giving me the ability to be compassionate to others?

Exercise for the day: Express compassion in an anonymous way. Let the one receiving compassion from you not know from whom it comes.

Day 20: “Yesod of Tiferet” – Foundation and Bonding in Compassion
For compassion to be fully realized there is a process of bonding that needs to take place. It requires creating a channel between the giver and the receiver, a Mutuality that extends beyond the moment of need. A bond that continues to live on is the most gratifying result of true compassion. Do you bond with one you have compassion for or do you stay and ‘outsider’? Does your interaction achieve anything beyond a single act of compassion?

Exercise for the day: Ensure that something eternal is built as a result of an act of compassion.

Day21: “Malchut of Tiferet” – Nobility in Compassion
Examine the dignity of your compassion. For compassion to be complete (and enhance the other six aspects of compassion) it must recognize and appreciate individual sovereignty. It should boost self-esteem and cultivate human dignity, both your own dignity and the dignity of the one benefiting from your compassion.

Is my compassion expressed in a dignified manner? Does it elicit dignity in others? Do I realize that when I experience compassion as dignified that it will reflect as such on others?

Exercise for the day: Rather than just giving charity, help the needy help themselves in a fashion that strengthens their dignity.

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