haYom sh’naim u’sh’loshim yom, sh’heim arba’a shavuot v’arba’a yomim, laOmer: netzach she b’hod

“and i, with stubborn boldness, have promised that i will increase tenderness in this world”

r’ Nachman of Breslov was always very direct in his prayers, especially when he was uncertain about his success. this prayer reveals the energy of netzach in a hod promise.  it is a good combination, but have you, any of you, ever labored at “increasing tenderness” in the world?

we all try with our children. and often succeed. but inevitably some sterner justice/discipline will have to be meted out, no matter how carefully and tenderly, and something of a “spell” is broken, yes? but we are immediately flooded with netzach to push ahead again with the tenderness we want all people to grow up with that it may spread far and wide and help to redeem the world.

well, sometimes it is guilt first and then netzach. but the same hod that brings reserve and tenderness also judges your feelings and actions more guardedly thereafter. this is good in that severity is shunted, but bad in that you are not so naturally tender for a while. compassionate, yes, but probably netzach in tiferet pushing a little to the right-side extreme, overcompensating due to the pain brought by the discipline. but it is not so gentle as knowing hod tenderness.

netzach in hod is probably the dominant jewish combination…it is no wonder that they give their names to the pillars at either side of the opening to the Holy in the Bet haMidash. most of spiritual practice is based on fine differentiation, organizational clarity and record keeping in time and space, and prompts to continuously focus our energies. a painfully good example is sefirat haOmer….calling upon you to do a small thing that requires attention to detail–counting not only days but also complete weeks and also weeks and days–each day for a period of time. but all leading up the a closer, purer, stronger cleaving to G’d by the holy day of Shavuot. persistent, enduring expenditure of thought energy in rectifying your spirit traits of character each day, sharing in the splendor of each day’s unique count.

the Omer practice is itself something of a rectification for those who find their days passing each like the next, just like the previous. hod comes to teach that each day has it’s own number, and counting up elimiates the idea of genuine end. we don’t count down to a change of state….subtrait building into better overall traits accumulates. we grow richer in time, not poorer.

netzach in hod is also a good time to assess where you are in your count. what have you gained? know it, and press ahead.

mussar for netzach she b’hod

with another….bein adam l’chaveiro    are you ever puzzled that so many people answer their home phone with a question, “hello?” people seem to do it today even though we know who is on the other side of the line as often as not….why is that? try changing your phone greeting. make it more beautiful, more engaging….have it suggest from the start that you care about the person on the other end of the line.

with yourself….bein adam l’atzmo   apply the same principle to yourself. what do you know, or do people suggest to you, is your greatest beauty of spirit? once you’ve parsed that out, build it further…..for yourself (though beauty is bound to spill over onto others).

kabbalah for netzach she b’hod

in assiyah….the world of doing/completion     hod is about recognizing splendor in the world and also becoming splendor in the world. look about you at the things you take for granted. where is the splendor in them? the beauty? the beautiful utility?  think about how to share that splendor with someone else….then do so with persistence til they get it!

in yetzirah….the world of feeling/formation    preparation requires a combination of looking ahead and looking at where you are.  but we are taught to live fully in the moment. meditate on this. does the disparity cause your stress? if you adjusted a little more toward the moment, would it help?

in b’riyah….the world of thought/creation    sometimes when we map out something, we see the end and the way there with immediate clarity. other times we will tread down a wrong path and have to make a change midcourse.  consider such times when you had to adjust…perhaps drastically.  what in you made you ready for the change and what made you able to push home a change? do you see other ways to approach similar situations today?

in atzilut….the world of nearness to G’d/intuition    communication is built on the focusing of energy in transmission and in receipt. this too is a netzach in hod relationship. contemplate your communications with G’d, through, prayer, through practice, through learning, whatever, and consider which is more difficult for you: sending your message to G’d? or hearing G’d’s message to you?

kinyan 32 of 48 ways to acquire Torah

Ohev et haMesharim o haTzadakot.   so why do we come back to this one, just flipping the order from yesterday?  well, each of them can either mean the way of uprighteousness or righteous persons. yesterday we treated brevity in the way of righteousness. today we will urge the love of righteous persons. they are guides on the path and can set one straight always. and a maggid mesharim (‘a righteous preacher’) can teach Torah outside of the box. and since that is where the use of Torah will prove most difficult and pressing in life, baruch haShem for the maggid mesharim.

so, what do you think?

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