Day 22, May 7: The Hesed in Netzach

It is difficult to believe, once again, that we are entering a new week of the Omer count this evening of May 6th - Week 4!blogEntryTopper
Netzach, the "theme Sefirah" for this week, can be understood as persistence, perseverance, endurance. It is also related to the Hebrew word nitzachon, "victory," perhaps in the sense of Aesop's fable about the Tortoise and the Hare: "Slow and steady wins the race."
Have you noticed that there's been a flagging in the number of omerblog posts over the past few days?
Rabbi Min Kantrowitz wouldn't be surprised by this. She wisely notes in her book that by this time in the counting of the Omer, it's not unusual for our energy for counting to begin to wane. It takes a deliberate refocusing of our energies to rededicate ourselves to the task and redirect our behavior. And so it is with any kavvanah (intention) that we set, especially those that extend over considerable time: we lose focus, return, lose focus, return.... again and again and again. But this is exactly how we unfold and grow.
Hesed, the lovingkindness in persistence, is found in our ability to give out of love over "the long haul."
Rabbi Jerome Davidson, my former Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, New York, once gave a gorgeous Rosh Hashanah sermon in which he marveled at the sheer endurance of people he'd known who had been taking care of chronically ill loved ones for many years, day in and day out.
"How do you do it?" he reported asking one of them.
"You do it" came the reply.

The Hesed in Netzach helps us to find strength to go the distance that we did not know we had.
Can you think of a circumstance in your life when you've surprised yourself by discovering depths of patience, wisdom, kindness or other middot or virtues that you didn't know you had, out of love for another?
Eager to hear your thoughts...
Rabbi Steve Folberg

PS: Here’s the answer to yesterday’s “quiz” about Maimonides’ “Ladder Of Tzedakah:”
There are 4 values that determine and provide the foundation for Maimonides' hierarchy of tzedakah. They are:

  • Has the donor given their fair share?
  • Has the donor given with a good and kindly attitude?
  • Has the dignity of the recipient been protected? (This is reflected in the concern for anonymous giving.)
  • How effective has the donation been? (Hence, the highest level is to help the recipient become self supporting).
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