Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gevurah b'Gevurah

At first glance you would think that the discipline and restraint of discipline and restraint would lead you into a downward spiral of always worrying about "was I too hard?", "did I go too easy?". I would argue that it's meant to be more freeing than that. To me I am reminded of Rabbi Tarfon who in Pirkei Avot said, "It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but you are not free to desist from it either." We live in a world that many of us easily find fault in and have desire to try and fix it (tikkun olam), a natural feeling. It is easy to see how one might become overwhelmed and bogged down by the tremendous load that it carries. This is to remind us that we cannot give up hope on the world, but balance our hope with the realization that change doesn't happen quickly. So of these challenges that the world faces may not even be overcome in our lifetimes. Which is okay. Understanding this principle helps of to know that it takes extreme disciple and restraint to do the work that we need to help in the process of tikkun olam but takes and even greater amount of discipline and restraint to not try and do more than our part.

I do think there is more to the idea of gevurah b'gevurah. I think this is something that we don't often think too much about but might need to be a little more conscious of in our lives. That's our time and energy. In addition to exercising, mentally and physically, we need to be constantly evaluating how we spent our time and energy. To be this aspect of gevurah b'gevurah is more discernment and difficult situations. To a certain extent there will be things in our lives that we just have to learn to accept and love. A loved one that snores. A partner who is gets lost even when you write down directions for them. However there comes a time when you need to cut a person or thing out of your life. A hobby that you enjoy but always results in your injury. A person who takes advantage of you and abuses you, because they are not a loved one. Sometimes it's really challenging to do that because this person may be a partner or family member. That's why on this day it's exceptionally important to be mindful of this.

Sometimes the best decisions in life are the hardest one to follow through on. For me, picking up and moving across country was very hard. Cutting ties with certain people in my life was excruciatingly painful at first. Afterwards I saw the difference it made in my life I knew I did the right thing. Just as you must learn to accept things or people, so too must others learn to accept you.

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