All of the paths of the Ground of Being are steadfast love and truth;
For those who guard with fidelity His covenant and His testimonies.
כָּל-אָרְחוֹת ה״ חֶסֶד וְאֱמֶת
לְנֹצְרִי בְרִיתוֹ וְעֵדֹתָיו
Chesed v’Emet: Steadfast Love and Truth
Is it kindness, lovingkindness, or steadfast love? How to translate the constantly morphing חסד? She pulses with life, avoiding exact translation. Chesed is the deep feeling of being held in sacred relationship: a healthy partnership, where kindness prevails.
Some translate אמת (emet) as אמונה (emunah), truth as faithfulness. This is also the root of אמן, amen.
HaShem’s path is for the lowly and wayward. We are led in steadfast love and truth.
Christians and Guardians
Fun fact: נצר is Hebrew for Christian. Before that meaning was invented, it was a verb meaning “guard with fidelity, keep, observe: elsewhere of man observing the covenant.” Wikipedia has an interesting etymology connecting Nazereth with נצר.
Concentric circles of meaning. Fundamental differences separate me from my Christian friends and neighbors. Yet, the core of our spiritual pursuits is connected: striving towards the best versions of ourselves, living in alignment with God.
Finding my way to the path of kindness and truth
I have been thinking a lot in the last week about wayward paths. How certain we can be that we are pursuing the good, aligning with the holy, when we are really elevating our egos and nestling into the death grip of the Yetzer HaRa, inclination towards destructiveness.
God’s covenant and testimonies should lead us on the path of kindness and truth. We need lampposts along the way. Human guides to break our complacency; remind us of the lies nipping at our best intentions. And we need to be forever watchful that we do not reify other humans. No matter how charismatic our spiritual leaders are, they remain flesh and blood.
So I return to the Ground of Being. I breathe in humility. Breathe out anxiety and fear. May I be a watchtower for kindness and truth. Loosen my ego’s grip. Accept the world as it is. Sing out testimony to the soul-nourishing, life-affirming truth within God’s path.