We are interpreting Gevurah as “limiting” love (from others). In the early Kabbalah it is usually translated as fear or awe. As it is on the left side of the Tree of Life, opposite Chesed, most interpret it as discipline; saying no as a form of love—teaching that love is also learned through its limits. In the first week we have Gevurah in Chesed (this week we start with Chesed in Gevurah) and interpreted it as a sense of losing love. Gevurah then as we will elaborate this week is the limits or boundaries on love. We need to always look at each of these dimensions both ways—from outside in and inside out. How we receive and how we give. If we look at Gevurah in Gevurah we see that at times we need to look inside and realize—it is up to me—and when we look at others to have an awareness that ultimately the other person (be they adult or child) are on their own.
Day 8 – Chesed in Gevurah
The festival of Passover has passed over. We are on the other side of the split sea. Can we still hold onto the power of what has been revealed to us? Now as we count (putting one foot in front of the other) we are just in the count—another (wondrous) day. The residue of Passover—the love that we have received and given is now receding in the rear view mirror of memory. Moving forward. Independence. Self-reliance. It can feel like bitterness, a separation from love. You are experiencing being on your own (yet infused with love). Perhaps that is why we shake hands upon meeting—connecting and then separating—we are ready to walk on our own.
Meditation: The moment you let go and took your first steps. Two hands separated—the one that held yours and the one you held. Remember a time and how that felt to you when you separated—you needed to let go—to move forward.
Day 9 – Gevurah in Gevurah
The next few steps are realized as “I am really on my own.” Fear can set in. Can you summon the courage to keep going? Independence is scary. You do not know that you can make it through on your own but all you need is to take the next step.
Meditation: You are on your own. Sit with yourself. Sit alone. Feel your aloneness. There may be an aspect of yourself that you would not dare share with others—you alone need to face it with courage. That is the aspect of Gevurah.
Day 10 – Tiferet in Gevurah
Feeling empathy for what it is to be on your own or in setting boundaries for others to realize themselves fully by limiting what they experience as love. Ultimately we are interconnected to all and yet we can feel alone and for that we reflect on and empathize with our sense of aloneness. It can take many forms from feeling alone physically, or feeling alone with one’s feelings or thoughts.
Meditation: When we see the person at the intersection with a cardboard sign do we feel for their aloneness? As we empathize for others’ aloneness we connect with our deepest aloneness.
Day 11 – Netzach in Gevurah
Overcoming obstacles to separating—there are internal and external obstacles. Fear and dependence can be internal states but often are sourced from the outside. In Netzach we not only summon our courage we enlist it to subdue those inner and outer fears about and blockages to our independence (and our granting others their independence). As we have taught in class the Sefirah of Netzach is aligned with parenting and in this regard the parent has the courage to let their child face the obstacles of their life on their own.
Meditation: What do I depend on? I can rely on others and be disappointed—but that is different than depending on them (or on God). I can commit to others and then they can rely in me. Free myself of dependence. I will not be enslaved that way.
Day 12 – Hod in Gevurah
While we may strive for setting limits—for gaining our independence (self-love) there are times when we will need to surrender to times of needing others (more than we might want ideally) or giving in a way that exceeded our commitment to the growth of the other toward independence. We give in or accept these times as necessary and acknowledge our limitations in setting limitations!
Meditation: Before going to sleep acknowledge this day for what it brought—lessons for me to learn about what I need to accept as my growing in independence.
Day 13 – Yesod in Gevurah
Independence is actualizing self-love. For each week’s Sefirah you can ask yourself on this day of Yesod, have I done the inner work needed…to put into action my limiting and focusing love to foster independence? Am I telling the truth when I withhold from myself or others Chesed? Have I stepped into fear with courage; avoiding nothing that holds me back from my self-love and independence.
Meditation: The truth be told am I still holding onto some form of dependence? When we talk about independence it does not mean we are not connected. I am connected to God for life. I am connected to every ancestor. I am connected to every atom. I am independent and able to discover my connection, my reliance, my commitment to all.
Day 14 – Malchut in Gevurah
Put into action your limit setting. This is a day to transform bitterness into sweetness and transform a feeling of aloneness into a triumph of independence. We are traversing the desert. One step at a time to independence. I may stumble and rely on someone to lift me up or lift someone who is stumbling. But my back is straight and my feet are ahead of me.