hodu l’adonai ki tov….ki l’olam chasdo
‘praise-thank G’d who is good….everywhere and always is G’d’s loving-kindness’….we pray this regularly, with special fervor in Hallel for festivals, for it makes all the connections between hod (hodu) and chesed (chasdo) that anybody could possibly need. we give thanks because the loving-kindness is everlasting and everywhere….it is the aspect of G’d with which “olam” (‘universe/eternity’, ie, the whole of Creation) was created. these 2 belong together like Laurel and Hardy.
people forget that humility is not self-debasement…it is not demoralizing…it is not nicki minaj doin ‘stupid hoe’. it is not minimizing yourself to the detriment of yourself, but rather reserving what need not be in play. so it is humility….the sliver of the new moon…..that is the very seat of love and loving-kindness for another. why? because it is ready and right-sized for expansion, and chesed always wants room to expand. but to do chesed in hod, you have to have room to allow the other in. and to be grateful for the opportunity to have the relationship.
chesed in hod is having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and a readiness to find the beauty in everything, no matter how small or subtle. hod is the appreciation of the other—heck, of ALL in Creation—chesed brings the overflowing love in, so what you have is the sun and the moon, really. the sun lighting it all up in loving-kindness and the moon reflecting that light with greater clarity simply by reducing the glare.
the gematria of hod is 15, which just happens to be the number of stair’s in the Cohen’s ascent to the Temple. it symbolizes the stages of approaching the Holy. and we do well to remember that it was Moshe’s lovingly generous brother Aharon to whom the closest regular approach to the Holy of Holies was given. Aharon is also the agent of disseminating awareness of G’d’s chesed through the procedures of atonement.
not surprisingly, chesed in hod is the attitude of temimut halev (‘sincerity of the heart’) which is the seat of ahavah called for in the Shema….you shall love G’d with all your heart….yet we must still find room to love our neighbor as ourself….
“there is still, in my love, so much room
and so many words for you”
Islam has Rumi and Hafez, for the jews, Ibn Gabirol. and here he teaches chesed she b’hod more compactly than anything i could ever write. let’s just leave it here. baruch haShem.
mussar for chesed she b’hod
with another….bein adam l’chaveiro chesed in hod is about valuing the other for no reason other than that the other exists!…..is part of Creation! why do you value and love the people in your life? show them; tell them….so many words for you.
with yourself….bein adam l’atzmo for this one, to do a favor for yourself, you are better off by doing a favor for another in proximity to giving thanks. before you pray today, or this week, do chesed in tzedakah. more of you will be in the prayer thereafter.
kabbalah for chesed she b’hod
in assiyah….the world of doing/completion today is Pesach Sheni (‘second passover’ or maybe ‘do-over passover), a halachah from written Torah itself (Nubers 9:6-8). the episode reflects the question brought by some who were unable to do the Pesach at the appointed time due to having been ritually unclean at the time through no fault of their own…they were doing the great chesed of tending to the dead. Moshe brought G’d’s word, which was itself chesed: ok, so you can’t do the passover with the rest of us? we’ll give you a do-over passover time a little later after you are ritually pure again. so, in empathy with those who need the do-over, have some matzah today (again? already?) and remember that it too is one of those wonders brought forth from the earth…..just like yourself.
in yetzirah….the world of feeling/formation r’ Mordechai Breuer, z’l, used to teach that the core of the shechechiyanu blessing was the full, rich appreciation of life in the moment…the final words are “lazman hazeh” (‘this very minute’). be mindful of (ie, meditate in real time) a single moment of your day today. it doesn’t matter which you choose. give thanks for it, and for what you open out of it.
in b’riyah….the world of thought/creation we are an ancient People, who have cultivated many traditions and practices over time. choose one you don’t regularly do and do it mindfully today. contemplate all those who brought love for G’d and Creation through it in generations past.
in atzilut….the world of nearness to G’d/intuition G’d is wherever we let G’d in. meditate on receiving with love today. find what stops you from doing it freely and resolve to remove those stops to chesed in hod.
kinyan 29 of 48 ways to acquire Torah
Ohev et haMakom…..Loving G’d (in the guise of place). as we said, G’d is wherever we let G’d in. among the names of G’d is “haMakom” (‘the Place’) presumably due to G’d’s designated Place in the Bet haMikdash, which was the Place of the Indwelling Presence amongst Bnei Yisrael. when you say Shema tonight, be mindful of place and how the prayer itself calls on us to teach the Oneness of G’d in whatever place and time we find ourselves in.