Today is ten days, which is one week and three days of the Omer in the year 5781. תפארת שבגבורה , Tiferet ShebeGevurah Beauty within Strength, רחמים שבדין, Rachamim ShebeDin, Compassion within Discipline.
The root of compassion is womb. רחם, rechem, in Hebrew means womb and is the root of the word for compassion, rachamim. When we nestle into the still waters of the eternal womb, we make space for compassion and enter the world of discipline and strength with new eyes. This allows us to walk lightly through the day, radiating beautiful strength.
The gateway of the Hebrew letter hey, ה
Chapter 1, section 7 of Tomer Devorah tells a beautiful story to explain why repentant sinners stand where the perfectly righteous cannot. This classical treatise by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero is available online for free, but I have been unsatisfied with those translations. The translation and annotation by Rabbi Moshe Miller is my preferred version. The story goes that the letter looks like a porch, so that people are free to choose to go astray. The righteous stay nestled, secure on the porch of HaShem, while sinners leave through the open door.
When someone who sins choose to return to the path of goodness and truth, they struggle to change their habits and spend time repenting for their sins. This active work in returning to Goodness allows them to ascend to the higher doorway at the left side of the letter, returning at a level of ascent not achieved by those who are perfectly righteous.
The choice and opportunity to stray
This story resonates with me on so many levels. First, that the opportunity to stray from Goodness is perpetually present. Falling off the path is not the end of your story. Every choice you make can either turn you towards the porch of wholeness or take you farther down the road of brokenness. It also reminds me that though I have done many things in my life and chosen many paths, I should not regret my past.
Straying from my best vision for myself provided me with life experience to support other people’s journeys towards themselves. Plus, my appreciation for numinosity and revelation is so much deeper.
Gentle compassion while choosing the true, disciplined way
May you have compassion with yourself, with others, and with the Source of the Universe as you navigate the true, disciplined way.
Read this book
Insight on the sephirot and ethical mysticism abound in Tomer Devorah and I highly recommend it.