Week Two - Gevurah
If love (chesed) is the bedrock of human expression, discipline (gevurah) is the channels through which we express love. It gives our life and love direction and focus. Take a laser beam: Its potency lies in the focus and concentration of light in one direction rather than fragmented light beams dispersed in all different directions.
Gevurah - discipline and measure - concentrates and directs our efforts, our love in the proper directions. Another aspect of gevurah is - respect and awe. Healthy love requires respect for the one you love.
Day One of Week 2 (8th day of Omer): Chesed of Gevurah
The underlying intention and motive in discipline is love. Why do we measure our behavior, why do we establish standards and expect people to live up to them - only because of love. Even judgment of the guilty is only to express love. In other words punishment is not vengeance; it is just another way to express love by cleansing anything antithetical to love. Tolerance of people should never be confused with tolerance of their behavior. On the contrary: love for people includes wanting them to be the best they can and therefore helping them be aware of anything less than perfect behavior.
Chesed of gevurah is the love in discipline; awareness of the intrinsic love that feeds discipline and judgment. It is the recognition that your personal discipline and the discipline you expect of others is only an expression of love. And that comes across when disciplining. It is the understanding that we have no right to judge others; we have a right only to love them and that includes wanting them to be their best.
Ask yourself: when I judge and criticize another is it in any way tinged with any of my own contempt and irritation? Is there any hidden satisfaction in his failure? Or is it only out of love for the other?
Exercise for the day: Before you criticize someone today think twice if it is out of care and love.