Day 38, May 23: The Tiferet in Yesod

One of the great joys of Jewish religious life and culture is having the opportunity to study texts together. It’s not just an academic learning experience or an intellectual exercise. It is also an act of worship/reverence and a deeply authentic community-building experience. Studying our texts links us to each other, to divinity, and to Jews of generations past, who puzzled over the same texts as those we explore today.

This came home to me the last time I hosted omerblog, back in 2011. At our Weekday Meditative Service, we explored Rabbi Min Kantrowitz's explanations of the Sefirah of Yesod, Foundation. I repeated my contention from the Day 36 post that Yesod, Foundation, felt more abstract than many of the others, such as Netzach/Endurance or Hesed/Lovingkindness. But -- happily! -- many of those who came to that service disagreed. They found Yesod/Foundation to be very immediate and understandable. They and we reflected on all of the ways that having a firm foundation in many areas of our lives -- inner and outer -- is essential. I was and still am grateful for all the wonderful insights we shared.

If we understand Tiferet to be, as before, Harmony or Inner balance , then we might focus today (May 23) on the balance and harmony that it takes to create a firm foundation.

When I do structured, premarital counseling with couples, we focus carefully on some of the elements of a firm, lasting relationship foundation: effective communication, conflict resolution, assertiveness and active listening and so on. Although "chemistry" and attraction may initially bring couples together, it takes a conscious commitment to building these fundamentals, step by step, to create the strong foundation of a lasting relationship. And all of these elements involve inner balance: between listening and expressing, between my needs and the needs of my significant other,

What are some of the foundational elements of your most important relationships -- to other people, to your job, to being Jewish, and how does inner balance figure in those foundational elements?

Your thoughts?

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