Posts Tagged gevurah
Discernment within Indwelling Presence
Gevurah is sometimes called Judgment; here, the careful judgment between the good: those pearls of wisdom, relevant encounters and authentic spiritual experiences which enhance our Divine connection, and those other life events which distract us from Holy Oneness or masquerade as genuine, but are empty once the glitz has faded. Our search for valid spiritual connection requires examining our choices with wisdom, asking for guidance from appropriate sources, and acting with integrity.
Discernment within Foundation
Discernment of proper actions is necessary in building anything that will last. The difference between a long lasting rock wall and a pile of rubble is in the accurate selection and placement of stones and meticulous application of mortar. This is also true in our lives: using careful discernment we can build the foundation for a long-lasting relationship, a robust congregation or a sturdy organization.
When we go through long periods of training, we are aiming for excellence. We examine what needs to improve, set goals, gather our determination and take aim. This process, whether sports or professional skills, music or accounting, is very similar. Discernment, applied well, leads to developing a strong foundation upon which a solid future can stand!
Discernment within Splendor
Discernment is necessary when presented with a wide array of choice. I have been in New York City for the past few days, where there is an overwhelming variety of choices for just about everything! A splendid smorgasbord, but one that could result in paralysis unless it were possible to make choices. We are reminded today that we always have a wide variety of choices available, whether we are in a large city, in a small village or confined to a small, single room. It takes thoughtful, deliberate strength to analyze options and make decisions. It is important to examine any situation in small enough portions to allow us to appreciate the diversity and not be overwhelmed by it.
Discernment within Endurance
Sounds rather abstract, “discernment within endurance”, but it’s really a quality most of us use daily and value highly. We pay attention today on the ability to focus on something as a way to help us accomplish whatever it is we are trying to do. Accomplishing anything, from baking a cake to writing a Ph.D. thesis, from sweeping the floor to teaching a child how to ride a bicycle, requires the quality of focused attention directed toward a goal. Today, let’s think of some larger issues as well that could us that kind of energy: seeking a new approach toward peace in the Middle East, finding the source of the bombs in Boston, enacting some sane gun control, just for a few examples. If nothing else, let’s direct our prayers in those directions today!
Discernment within Harmony
Discernment in Gevurah is based on knowing the underlying structures and disciplines upon which to make good judgments. The term ‘halacha’, Jewish law, comes from the Hebrew root “h”"l”"ch” which refers to walking, or ‘the way’. Halacha is the structure which guides decisions and allows people to live together in harmony.
In Navajo tradition, harmony is the natural, balanced state of the world. If a person is ill or if there is trouble in the community, something is assumed to be out of balance. A structured ritual ceremony known as the Blessing Way is performed to restore harmony. Gevurah provides the order that facilitates the return to the natural order of balance, harmony and beauty.
We focus today on the importance of regular practice, of developing structure in our lives which contributes to enjoying a balanced life.
Indwelling Presence within Discernment
This pair of themes conveys the fact that Holy Presence is always close to us in all our decisions, judgments and actions. All we have to do is remember! When we remember that we always have loving protection, deep insight and thoughtful guidance available, our lives can be enriched.
We are reminded today that guidelines and rules are not the same. The wise ruler and respectful leader sets up boundaries within which a number of correct decisions are possible….these are guidelines. Rules, are the other hand, are binary: either you break the rule or follow it. Today we recognize the presence of the Holy One within some religious rules (Do not murder, for example) as well as in religious guidelines (Rejoice on the festival–without specific instructions!, for example).
As we conclude the week of Gevurah, we recall the usefulness of proper discernment in all aspects of our lives.
Foundation within Discernment
The Mishnah states: “Al shlosha devarim ha’olam omed: al haTorah, v’al haAvodah v’al Gmilut Chasadim” The world stands upon three things: Torah, service/devotion/prayer and good deeds. These form the foundation which guides our actions, today and every day. Life goals and our family/community structures rely on foundational principles, principles which guide by letting us know appropriate boundaries. Today we focus on how our spiritual paths rely on a strong foundation in text, tradition, experience, teaching, guidance, and culture.
Splendor within Discernment
Holocaust Remembrance Day
As we remember the splendor that has been lost along with those millions of lives, the knowledge and memories gone with those who perished, we commit ourselves to fighting injustice and prejudice. Prejudice is built on overgeneralization, the opposite of true discerning. One way to describe Hod is as splendid diversity — certainly it was a splendid diversity of children, women and men who died in the Holocaust. As we remember them today, we are grateful for their lives, their legacies and their leadership.
Endurance within Discernment
Endurance, persistence, perseverance…all ways to describe continuing effort. When we overcome obstacles by applying stamina, whether physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual, we become more strong (strength being another description of Gevurah!). Think of how the quiet, constant flow of a river wears down stones, or goes around them and still gets downstream. Just as stones are not barriers to water applied over time, the barriers we seem to encounter in life can be gently eroded. Building up strength slowly, as every person in physical therapy, rehabilitation or an exercise program knows, is most effective. As Day 11 coincides with Shabbat this year, we celebrate the spiritual stamina that has kept us, as a people, strong over thousands of years.
Harmony within Discernment
Without harmonizing influence, even the most well intentioned discernment can become a source of prejudice and intolerance. Harmony and balance provide stability — think of the music of harmony and balance of dance — together they support the kind of spiritual equilibrium that facilitates wise choices, the actions of Gevurah.