This post, focusing on Gevurah B'Chesed (Discipline & Restraint in Loving-Kindness) is inspired by and dedicated to two great men and mentors in my life: The Dad and Andy G.
These themes have all been chosen based on sefirot (characteristics) that the kabbalists believed were part of G-d. In the picture/map below of the sefirot, it shows Gevurah and Chesed as being complete opposites in a human/Divine being. They are only connected by Tiferet (tomorrow's theme) which can stand for harmony, compassion, and beauty.
I don't agree with this opposition: discipline and restraint does not mean that there's a reduction in acts of loving-kindness.
Photo Cred to the Brother (ABW)
BFW (the Dad) was more of the disciplinarian in our family. He was also the one that was quickest to come up with a joke, the clearest-headed in a crisis, and the one who single-handedly got rid of any squirrels that ended up in my bathroom (a story for another day). As a person who could say much with few words, my father taught me the best way to show discipline and to restrain anger. He would walk away when angry (you regret less if you give yourself time to think), take us aside when we had done something wrong (it's never okay to publicly embarrass those you love), and explain repeatedly that while he was angry at the fact that the "Check Engine" light had come on for the 8th time, he understood (in his deepest of hearts) that it wasn't my fault. My father embodied the idea that when you could really truly love someone, you need to set boundaries in order to teach them right from wrong...and that there's a discipline (gevurah) that comes along with that. Whether it was emptying out my Dorothy-bank to pay for a windshield that I had broken (I maintain this was still the brother's fault), making me set-up/clean-up at Temple events, or having me stick to my commitments even if something better comes along, the Dad has instilled in me a very strong core of responsibility, reason, and relationship-building (chesed). I often credit him as being the reason that I'm doing what I do today. **Love you Dad**
Photo Cred: Paul Gitelson (another pretty cool Dad)
A week before my 26th birthday, Andy decided to take a chance on me and hired me at Oregon Hillel. Through a whirlwind first year of moving across the country, learning how to temper my humor (read: sarcasm), driving twelve-passenger vans on icy roads, and getting my footing, Andy had a lot of patience, and committed a whole lot of chesed. Make no mistake: Andy challenges me on a daily basis and has since the day I stepped foot into Oregon Hillel. Discipline (gevurah) is a must-have when setting (and meeting) expectations, prioritizing deadlines, managing others, and getting yourself organized. However, discipline in a vacuum isn't very effective. I believe that Andy's guidance, a mixture of discipline (gevurah) and acts of loving-kindness (chesed) through regular weekly supervisions or impromptu strategy sessions has been essential to my growth both as a Hillel professional and as a person. In the past two and a half years this mixture has allowed me to grow in my confidence, determine my own working balance of discipline and kindness through the supervision of others, and learn where my gaps are in both areas.
On this second day of the Omer, I am filled with gratitude to both these men who have taught me the skill of balancing these two seemingly opposite sefirot.
#BlogBOmer #gratitude #Gevurah #Chesed