Day 30, May 15: The Gevurah in Hod

Someone once told me that the essence of childhood and adolescence is a sense of endless possibility. Life seems like a smorgasbord of infinite choices without constraint. As we mature, we gain a sense of limits: the limitations of time, energy, and even (or perhaps especially) the limits of our own physicality and mortality. We learn (perhaps with a mixture of sadness and relief) that our choices are sometimes mutually exclusive, that in many instances making one choice precludes another. We choose a life partner to the exclusion of others. We choose to live in a particular city, and we accept its strengths and limitations. We learn, as a revered seminary teacher of mine, Rabbi Jerome Malino of blessed memory, used to like to say, that "every situation includes the advantages of its deficiencies and the deficiencies of its advantages."

Taking Gevurah as many of our sources do to denote the quality of Discernment, the Gevurah in Hod, the discernment/restraint in multiplicity/splendor, might draw our attention to the way that wisdom and discernment help us to deal with the confusion and temptation with which we sometimes confront a world of choices, paths and variations.

Here's a text for today from Pirkei Avot, the tractate of the Mishnah consisting of aphorisms and wise sayings of the Rabbis:

"Who is wise? The one who foresees the consequences of their actions."

Discuss! Winking

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