Thursday, April 9, 2015

Yesod b'Chesed

I couldn't help myself from quoting "Grease"! Yesod means bonding. Since I work at a primarily STEM school, and I'm a bit of a nerd myself, the first thought that came to mind was chemical bonding, covalent bonds to be specific. Covalent bonds are formed when the electrons of two or more elements combine their valence electrons to have a more full outer shell. In other words, and this is a gross over exaggeration that isn't quite accurate, it allows them to be "full" with the number of electrons they can carry. It's a mutual relationship. To me this is related to the idea of yesod because of the idea of togetherness and completeness. In the Torah is says, 

"ויומר יהוה אלוהים לא טוב היות האדם לבדו, אעשה לו עזר כנגדו"
"It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helpmate"

This means something we already know, that humans are not meant to be solitary creatures! However that isn't to say that we need to force everyone to have lots of friends. Developing bonds with people is just like covalent bonds. It has to be mutual, agreed upon. Everyone builds relationships in different ways. As Hillel professionals we should know that better than most. Our entire job is yesod b'chesed. We build relationships with students (yesod) that we hope will help them in life and on their Jewish exploration (chesed). So I'm done....Kidding!!

In order to truly experience and give yesod b'chesed you need to remember all that came before. Chesed (Loving-Kindness). Gevurah (Discipline and Restraint). Tiferet (Harmony and Compassion). Netzach (Endurance). Hod (Humility). All of these things come together to make yesod (bonding). [I'm intentionally not mentioning malchut (sovereignty and leadership).] Chesed is the foundation for humanity. Love and kindness are like the bones our bodies are built upon. Gevurah is like our minds, it is where we exercise our abilities for reason and understanding. Tiferet would be our heart because it binds our body together and keeps everything working in harmony. Netzach are the muscles in our bodies that give us the strength we need to go out and be a part of the world. Hod is the blood running through our veins. It reminds us that we are but human, we bleed and we hurt. Yesod is our skin. It keeps our entire body together. Without it we fall apart and die. Malchut is our faculty for good or evil. (More to come on that in a later post.)

I leave you with these words from Sister Sledge: "Living life is fun and we've just begun, to get our share of the world's delights."

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