We are interpreting Tiferet as integration. My Kabbalah teacher emphasizes the inner meaning of the Sefirah of Tiferet as empathy (and Rabbi Jacobson interprets it similarly as compassion). The word Tiferet itself means beauty (or that which harmonizes/balances) and therefore by extension; the energy of integration. Tiferet is usually explained as the integration of Chesed and Gevurah but as you can see Tiferet draws integration from all the Sefirot (those above and below). So what do we mean by integration? I will attempt briefly to integrate for you the work of Daniel Siegel in his book Mindsight. “Integration,” he says, “might be the principle underlying health at all levels of our experience from the microcosm of our inner world to our interpersonal relationships and life in our communities.” Siegel makes the point that rigidity or chaos affects the unfolding of integration. When there is not enough differentiation then there is not enough complexity and the ability to harmonize—to “integrate” (rigidity) and with too much differentiation there is no linkage and again harmony and complexity give way to chaos.
Turning to the wisdom of the Kabbalah and the Sefirah of Tiferet we now have two interesting notions to integrate; the unfolding and creating of differentiated yet open and linked ‘systems’. I hope you can see that human beings are just that when they are ‘beautiful’—they are differentiated (Gevurah energy of self-defining, independence) and yet very connected (Chesed energy of love); we call this an empathic person!
In our classes we emphasize that Tiferet is the stage of the blueprint in the creation of all that comes into being. The integration of this concept is to see that a blueprint (for a human being, a building, a tree or a company) integrates openness-connectivity and differentiation-boundaries to be a flexible enough map for full (and healthy) manifestation.
Now we are ready for the week of Tiferet—when the Jews continue on their journey away for slavery to integrating as free people—and what will be their blueprint for freedom? Fortunately they were beginning to integrate what it would mean to be a moral people, concerned for the welfare of each other and God introducing them to the observance of the Sabbath. The Shabbat for the Jewish people is their blueprint for living a free life. This week they are in the oasis of Eilimah—where there were date palms and fresh springs, in abundance. Your week may not feel so oasis-like but it is a week for reflecting on the creation of your blueprint to freedom. As Tiferet of Tiferet occurs on day 3 of this week’s count, the formulation of your blueprint is quick.