Tiferet of Lit. Kindness It is said in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) that the world stands on three things: Torah (learning), Avodah (worship), and Gemilut Hasidim (acts of kindness). – Beauty of Lovingkindness
The third day of counting the From the second day of Passover until Shavuot, Jews count seven weeks – seven times seven days – to commemorate the period between the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation at Sinai. When the Temple stood, a certain measure (omer) of barley was offered on the altar each day; today, we merely count out the days. finds us exploring the quality of Tiferet—beautiful, harmonizing balance, within the sefirah of Hesed—expansive, overflowing, abundant lovingkindness and generosity.
To help us understand the qualities of relationship between these (pl of sefirah) In Kabbalah, the 10 “attributes” – channels of Divine energy – via which God interacts with creation., I invite you to join me in an visual-artistic version of a lovingkindness meditation practice I learned this past week on a silent retreat with Or HaLev from Rabbi Dr. James Jacobson Maisels.
- A visual canvas
- Writing instrument(s)
- An open heart
- Write your own name, or draw a symbolic representation of yourself, in the center of the paper.
- Begin to call to mind all the people in your life who have ever loved you. As you think of someone, imagine them smiling at you, and write their name down on the paper.
- Think as expansively as you possibly can about the ways love has manifested in relationships in your life. The love didn’t have to be perfect or dramatic. Just anyone who has wished you well along your journey. Someone who might have thought to themselves, “Oh (you), I hope they’re doing well.” Teachers, friends, friends’ parents, family, co-workers, neighbors, people you pass on your way to work each day—they’re all fair game.
- You may choose to think of people chronologically starting with your earliest memories and moving up to the present, or beginning with the most recent people to love you and working back to the earliest.
- You might make clusters of people from different parts of your life, or just randomly fill your paper with names, visually surrounding yourself with loved ones.
- Remember to take a moment as you write each name down to picture that person sending you love and take a breath to take the love in.
- Looking at your paper, perhaps you will begin to notice that the world has been conspiring to love and support us. Often we find ourselves more tapped into the experience of the world conspiring against us, but even with all the hardships and sufferings that life brings, every person has had to have a world of support and love to even be alive and make it to the present moment. We are evolutionarily too vulnerable as a species to survive without a web of love and support, as broken or dark as it may have been at times.
- This beauty and balance of the ways people have shown up for us and loved us is the Tiferet within Hesed.
- Take a final moment to feel all the smiles and all the love of the people on your paper, filling you up with Tiferet sh’b’Hesed.
Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).