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). of Malchut – Love of Sovereignty
kindness does not enter the house newly built,
with wet paint still,
white picket fences
and the softness of chimes rocking little children to bed.
rather, kindness enters the house whose baseboards have broken,
whose wallpaper is yellowed and faded
and whose roof is one small crack from the ruin of caving in.
kindness billows past all this
and escapes through the back window
rising sky high
an atmospheric reminder that
the world is but one and is One
all the brokeness holds the center
and has always been
As we awaken to our own suffering, we glimpse not only the exhaustive structure of old beliefs and practices, but a new way to emerge, whereby a path through unhealthiness opens up upon greater compassion toward oneself, one’s history, and all the accompanying wounds.
Hesed in Malchut challenges us to not seek out the new or better, to hastily change our inner worlds, but to, as a matter of spiritual necessity, treat ourselves with lovingkindness even as we come to terms with our failings.
To experience this moment in 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., you are encouraged to spend time in self-reflection, to see yourself there in the brokeness and the whole, and to embrace all the dimensions of yourself as part of the divine circle of your existence.
Remind yourself that the change you seek is not merely an adjustment in mind and body but an opening that takes root in the heart. For in love, we find the keys to the whole kingdom, G-d’s and ours.
Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).