Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hod b'Hod

I have few words on this concept so I will leave you with these and those of others. 

Everything starts at home. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Netzach b'Hod

Endurance in Humility. Humility has a certain self-sustaining quality about itself. Being humble is a lot of work but it helps you to build up endurance for the even tougher parts of life. As some of us know, human lives are very fragile. I think the responsibility is on us to remember the frailty of life and to show the resilience that we possess. We are constantly replenished and are continually empowered to make an impact. Listen closely to the words of this song.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tiferet b'Hod

The world is a big and scary place. When I think about it I sometimes feel a little depressed. However I think the harmony and compassion in humility is what helps me and others continue through this pain. We have learned that it isn't about always focusing on the negative in the world. Humility is about learning that negativity has it's place to balance out the good in the world. Without the negatives we would not know what the good is. Even when we are pushed to our limits we can go a little further when we give a little help to our friends.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Gevurah b'Hod

Discipline and restraint are not the first things that come to mind when I think about humility. However the more that I thought about it, the more it began to make sense. Every person that I can think of as humble is someone who practices discipline and restraint regularly. Discipline and restraint in humility to taking everything in its stride and not rushing through it. Everything is a journey and there is beauty in it, no matter how tough it is.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Chesed b'Hod

Chesed b'hod. Loving-kindness in humility. Recognizing when your strength comes from others. 

Malchut b'Netzach

I don't even know where to begin with sovereignty and leadership in endurance. One aspect of this that I want to put on your radar is how this relates to things like the tour-de-France. To be a part of this experience there is a tremendous amount of endurance required. However if you want to win there is more required, you must set for yourself a leader or rise to the challenge yourself. Endurance requires pacing yourself much like a marathon. This is extremely important in the group setting because you will loose membership if they feel you can't adjust to meet their needs. Knowing the pace of the organization is extremely important because sometimes you need to momentarily break from the culture to prioritize yourself and your goals.

Yesod b'Netzach

What do bonding and endurance have to do with each other? More specifically how do we find bonding in endurance? It was not very obvious to me. I kept thinking about endurance in bonding. When we are bonded together we can endure almost anything, no one can dispute that. I think that we sometimes also bond over the ideas of endurance in our lives. The endurance in this case is a collection of our habits, our rituals. If you're a person who runs regularly and generally sticks to the same route, you've probably developed a connection, a bond to most of the things you see on your path. Likewise, if you frequent a coffeeshop or dog park you have likely bonded with those you have met there. If you are enduring in your commitments in life you can develop many new relationships and strengthen others. For me this is the essence of yesod b'netzach, bonding in endurance.

Hod b'Netzach

Humility in endurance. Because I don't want to say more than is needed on the topic I will try and stay brief. When I think about humility in endurance, I think about those among us who celebrate anniversaries. The celebrate lasting another year in a field, relationship, or even in the strength of recovery. For many of these people they don't need to make a public display of this achievement but they do mark it. They are marking the passage of time, acknowledging the holiness and wonder that is time and its passing. This is an important part of our Jewish tradition as well. How many different Jewish rituals can you name that have to do with time? It's harder for me to try and create a list of those that don't. From a baby's naming to bar/bat mitzvah and from holidays to mourning, we have Jewish rituals that tell us how that time should be spent. Endurance requires that passage of time and humility is demonstrated by the actions of a person. As we are counting the days to Shavuot, the days of the Omer, we get to think about and reflect on humility 13 times and in 13 ways. That's nearly 302.9 trillion possible combinations of how to observe humility during the Omer. Sounds like you'd need a little endurance to do what. In the words of the song below, dona nobis pacem, grant us peace.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Netzach b'Netzach

Endurance inside of endurance. This evaded me for a long while. I believe the central concept here is that mindset of compound interest rates. At first, you're probably asking yourself, what the heck does this have to do with Judaism. The principle and correlation is pretty simple. Compound interest can work in your favor or against you. The interest accrued grows more and more rapidly as time passes. Why? Because the interest you earn is added to the principle that you are earning interest on. This is great if the interest you earn is profit, not so much if this is a loan that you have to repay. I believe this holds true in our lives for the torah that we practice. The more time and energy that we invest in developing our torah to be a light in our lives. The torah we practice in our lives can range from doing good deeds in your community to studying Torah. Certainly, if we don't practice torah in our lives we can't see the world improve. In order for the world to improve we must actively practice tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedek (justice). This means the responsibility is on us. When we take the first step we can then inspire others to join in and stand up for what is right. Then momentum builds and we see this compound interest take effect and we have started a movement.