Tiferet sh’b’ Yesod: Compassion of Commitment and Bonding
The guidance of Day 38 in the counting of the OmerFrom 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. is translated as compassion (Tiferet) of commitment, foundation, or bonding (Yesod). So, what do we learn when we bring these attributes together? What do the joining of the middot, Tiferet and Yesod create for us together?
Yesod is a very relational word. The bond, the foundation, we create within ourselves and with others is not an event—it is an ongoing process. Yesod is created—not in our heads—rather in the space within, between, and among us. Commitment and bonding is at the foundation and core of relationships and it is in relationships that we define the quality of our bonds. The process of creating Tiferet within Yesod is therefore something we need to attend to from the perspective of those who are our closest “others.”
Compassion sustains our bonds and our commitments both to ourselves and to each other. We need to be both firm with ourselves, and be guided by our commitments, and be gentle and compassionate with ourselves. It is from that foundation of compassion to ourselves that we can most fully bring compassion to others—compassion that is supported by commitment.
I thought about this balance recently with regard to a close colleague and friend. We had a commitment to do something together. Our commitment was based on years of building a relationship and colleagueship. As the time for “doing” grew close, it became apparent that my colleague was pulled in a different direction and was not going to be able to join me on this project. Our foundation and bond served us well in being able to address this turn of events. Our compassion for each other supported the continuation of the bond and commitment beyond the task at hand.
The attributes of Tiferet and Yesod serve and grow each other. Compassion and commitment to oneself supports the minding of these attributes with each other and become infinite in community.
Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).