“tell your brother Aharon that he shan’t enter the Holy of Holies at just any time”
we learn this (Leviticus 16:2) shortly after we learn of the death of Aharon’s sons Nadav and Avihu for bringing a strange fire into the Mishkan (‘temple in the desert’) on their own accord, without being commanded. many of us might have been hard pressed not to snap back, “ya think?”
but few of us are as mighty as was Aharon, master of joy and peace in the most difficult of circumstances. as it turns out, Aharon would ultimately enter into the most Holy area behind the curtain once a year….on Yom Kippur. this is a pretty strict rule, but one from which we can learn a lesson of gevurah (restriction) in yesod (foundation, connection, bonding), for Aharon was a very special communicator with the People, he was the leader of the bringing of the Cohanic Blessing to the People (Numbers 6:24ff):
“may G’d bless you and keep you!
may G’d shine his face upon you and favor you!
may G’d lift up G’d’s face toward you and grant you shalom!”
and this is how G’d chose to put G’d’s name on the People and to bless them. that is a rather significant communication indeed. yet if offered just willy nilly, it would not be right. and we have a tendency to do that these days….this blessing is offered by just about anybody and just about anytime these days. a lack of gevurah in yesod.
think about the importance of taking the helm in building a relationship and then maintaining it. yesod comes to teach about establishing the way you will walk in them. too much gevurah and the contact points between people, no matter how deeply in love they may once have been, will atrophy like a muscle unused. but too little, constant communication of the wrong sort, or ill-timed insistence on, say, talking about the relationship, and all you end up with is meta-ralationship…..all talk smothering the individual walk. or perhaps the third errant way: all texting….constant not-quite-contact of all communication, virtually.
it holds between humankind and G’d as well….else the shechechiyanu (‘blessing for the particular special moment’) would have no more moment to bless. and none can look upon the face of G’d and live.
the good that comes of restricting communications, governing contact is that each person in a relationship gets to simply be in the relationship….with no more than the small gesture or look….or just a glimpse. perhaps exactly what gets one going in the first place….
mussar for gevurah she b’yesod
with another….bein adam l’chaveiro rabbeinu Gershom, the same rabbi that put the 1000-year ban on polygamy into effect in the year 1000 ce, also ruled that it was against the way of Torah to read another person’s mail. privacy continues to be a valid concern in Torah, regardless of the current-day cassandras of the death of privacy. take care to keep your nose out of other folks’ business.
with oneself….bein adam l’atzmo we all know peer pressure in how we act in the world, especially in regard to our community. but it is incumbent on each of us to make our own understandings and not simply follow blindly. when we see something that is against the walk with G’d, we should not make it foundational for ourselves. truth is the watchword of G’d…..and it works for people too.
kabbalah for gevurah she b’yesod
in assiyah….the world of doing/completion in the morning prayer we bless G’d “who makes my steps firm”, ie, makes my walk with G’d confident. but how often do we stop an assess what contacts and communications we might undertake to strengthen the foundations of the community we walk in? consider this…then act.
in yetzirah….the world of feeling/formation kony 2012 is now famous…indeed, the words are spray painted on many surfaces of buildings downtown. now what? well, for the building owners, it means time and expense to clean up. the campaign is a good example of non-foundational effort….all text and you tube without reeal effects in the world. more than anything, it represents a missed opportunity to do some real good. consider how you can capture the fire of a compaign to do good in the world and then direct it into actually doing the good, for it is the DOING THE GOOD that is tikkun olam (‘repairing the world’), not just the desire to do it.
in b’riyah….the world of thought/creation privacy is important, but it can sometimes lead to concealment of possibility. we are not always being active judges of our own potential. spend some time evaluating the hints of possibility in yourself…what can you bring to getting justice done? to spread loving-kindness? do you have what to offer in a new way?
in atzilut….the world of nearness to G’d/intuition the loftier the building/effort/understanding/holy-making (add your own word), the deeper, broader, more strategically anchored must be the foundation. meditate on whether your spiritual foundations are worthy of supporting your loftiest aspirations.
kinyan 37 of 48 ways to acquire Torah
Nosei b’Ol Chaveiro….Bearing/Sharing the Burden of Another. loving your neighbor as yourself is a mitzvah that has a complex of associated/related mitzvot, each of which defines a part of the way in the doing of the central mitzvah. honoring your parents, accompanying a bride to huppah, burying the dead, visiting the sick, and comforting the mourner, among others, are all mitzvot supportive of “loving your neighbor”. and all of the kinyanei Torah are spirit traits that support the great mitzvah as well…for they all support walking humbly with Your G’d.