Sunday April 23rd – Week 3 – Tiferet
Questions for Reflection
This week we will focus on tiferet. This attribute has many dimensions to it - balance, compassion, integration, and spirituality. It is, as we discussed last week, the force that balances the two great attributes that we studied in our last two sessions - loving-kindness and strength/discipline/justice.
As one can see on the map of the sephirot, tiferet occupies a central,
connecting position. Many see it as near the heart. In the introductory time, we'll talk about this quality. What is it? How and in
what ways does it work? What would it look like it our lives - in our personal
world, our families, the immediate community, the polity?
Balance is an important feature in most cultures and civilizations. I'll
mention a few of the better known ones. Others may, as well.
Then we'll do the inter-sephirot analysis. Let's recognize that Rabbi Jacobson sees tiferet mostly as compassion. So, while I feature its orientation to being a balancer or harmonizer, we'll look at both elements in our discussion.
I. The loving-kindness of balance/compassion (chesed of tiferet)
How must love be balanced to be at its best? What happens at both extremes if love is not in balance? Or, seen the other way, how can we be assured that our commitment to balance has loving-kindness at its center? What might happen if it isn't?
II. The discipline/strength of compassion or balance (the gevurah of tiferet)
Why must our compassion have a disciplined side to it? What sort of things tend to happen if it's not? If we see tiferet as balance, why must our efforts at achieving balance be strong and disciplined?
III. The tiferet of tiferet.
What's the inner quality of tiferet? Why and how is balance balanced? How might it not be? What kinds of things happen when balance is out of balance? Why and how could compassion not be truly compassionate? Put another way, how could compassion be unbalanced? And what kind of bad effects could that have?
IV. The endurance of balance/compassion (the netzach of tiferet)
Why is it important that compassion or balance be enduring? What happens when it isn't, both in our personal lives and in our community? What can we do to make compassion more enduring?
V. The humility of compassion (the hod of tiferet)
How do we tend to act when our compassion has little or no humility to it? Examples of how this happens in our community or our politics? How do we bring more humility to our compassion?
VI. The bonding of compassion (or balance) (the yesod of tiferet)
What difference does bonding make? What happens to our compassion in the absence of bonding? What happens to our notions of balance in the absence of bonding?
VII. The strength/sovereignty of our compassion or balance (the malchut of
How does our compassion encourage greater dignity in us and those to whom we show such compassion? Look at the balance side of tiferet. How can our balance encourage greater dignity in our lives and greater dignity in the lives of those we touch?