36th Day of the Omer (Wednesday, 5 May)

Week of Yesod, First Day

Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Chessed/Kindness

A few days ago I mentioned that I realized that certain central components of my being determine the quality of my thinking and behavior. If a certain appetite takes control, just about any behavior or belief that indulges the appetite can be rationalized. The appetite becomes a god, a relentless, demanding god.

So it’s a real chessed (kindness) for me—and my fellow Israelites—that God insists on a very high standard of morality. Honestly trying to maintain that standard prevents the gods and goddesses of licentiousness from driving a wedge between me and E-L (alef lamed), the Almighty.

And a greater chessed lays within that standard. Because the standard is not merely to keep the aforementioned gods and goddesses at bay, but to ever-enhance the relationship that God has made with and for us. Is there a greater kindness than that?

I can also do that favor for people. If, God forbid, there’s a wedge between friends or neighbors, and especially if there is distance between husband and wife, I will try to do them the kindness of (re-)stabilizing the foundation of their familiarity.

When I daven (pray) the Shemonah Esrei blessing Slach na (Forgive, please #6), I will ask God to excuse me for being unkind to Him by becoming aloof because I was lackadaisical in maintaining our standards.

Author: Ozer Bergman

Ozer Bergman is an editor for the Breslov Research Institute, a spiritual coach, and author of Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation.

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