It is now the beginning of the 6th week as we count up to Shavuot and this week is Yesod. Over the past two weeks we have moved from looking at obstacles that need to be overcome (Netzach) to surrendering or at least suspending our notions of what the outcome of our plans need to be (Hod). Some of you have mentioned that it seems at times this past 2 weeks that it is a ‘holding of opposites’—overcoming and surrendering go hand in hand.
The definition of Yesod is foundation. The question is how to define, in the context of the Sefirot, what foundation means? Rabbi Jacobson looks at foundation as ‘bonding’ which he defines as union-connecting. Rabbi Kantrowitz explains foundation as a platform from which to gather (and launch) our spiritual strengths.
Our way of looking at the Sefirot flow has been the creation of a plan for change (this could be seen as a material or spiritual change—but the move is to freedom). Yesod then is the litmus test of our determination to actually make the change—are we indeed being truthful, are we acting with integrity regarding the change. The challenge we often face when we are almost ‘there’ is that doubt, particularly self-doubt, creeps in. It can have an insidious affect on our determination to fulfill on change. As we head toward the final week of the counting of the Omer (when we implement change) we must first work on our determination and deal with our self-doubts.
In following our own journeys of freeing ourselves from ‘enslavement’ we also reflect on where the Israelites are on their journey toward Sinai. The trek from one desert to the next finds them in Refidim—a place where their determination was weak (Rafah in Hebrew means weak) and they enter into a spiritual crisis of self-doubt. They are attacked by a people called Amalek—the arch enemy of Israel whose name in Kabbalah symbolizes doubt (Amalek = 240, Safek (doubt) = 240). In the battle against Amalek—Moses ascends to the mountain and hold his arms up to heaven. The Torah states that when Moses’ arms remained up, the Jews overcame the enemy Amalek, but when his arms tired and gave into gravity, Amalek held the upper hand.
Without a doubt. This is the litmus test. This is Yesod.