Day 32, May 17: The Netzach in Hod

A few years ago, here in Austin, I saw a piece of advertising for a local yoga studio that was so unintentionally funny that it made me chuckle out loud. Underneath a photo of a rather “buffed up” individual in a spandex yoga outfit, the caption read, “I've made faster progress in my yoga practice at GruntNSweat Yoga than I ever did at my old yoga studio!" As if the fastest possible "progress" - rather than learning to pay attention, in each moment, to one’s body - were the point of yoga!

As we consider the Netzach (eternity/persistence) within Hod (beauty/multiplicity) our attention is drawn to the way that the myriad details of life unfold over time. (Technological culture tends to unquestioningly buy into the proposition that “faster is better,” and that “if there is a shortcut, take it.”

Jewish tradition, however, clearly recognizes that faster is not always better, and that there are certain pathways in our lives for which there is no shortcut.

Take the process of mourning, for example. From the moment of death, Jewish tradition prescribes an unfolding process: the time between the deaths and the burial, the seven days following the burial, the 30 days following the burial, and the 11-months-to-a-year, when an unveiling of the monument or marker finally takes place. Bit by bit, stage by stage, day by day, the mourning process unfolds. I’m also reminded of a text from the Babylonian Talmud in Berakhot (the tractate on prayer) that teaches that “one may not use the Temple Mount as a shortcut”!

Consider step by step change and growth over time. How has this been manifested in your life? When is faster not better?

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Steve Folberg
blog comments powered by Disqus