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Your Seven Soul Powers - Emor

Wednesday, 11 May, 2022 - 11:14 am

Your Seven Soul Powers


The Torah commands us to count seven weeks from the second day of Passover until the "holiday of weeks," which celebrates the giving of the Torah. As we read in this week's portion: 


And you shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day from the day you bring the omer as a wave offering seven weeks; they shall be complete. (Leviticus 23:15)


The Kabbalists explain that the Hebrew word for counting, "Usefartem, is related to the word "sefirah," which means "soul powers," as well as "Sapirut," which means shining. The counting of the seven weeks is the time when we introspect and refine our seven emotional soul powers, each of which includes all seven, leading to forty-nine specific emotions. Each week we focus on one of the seven soul powers, and each day of the week we focus on one of the seven expressions of that general soul power. 


Below is a short description of each of our seven soul powers. 


1. Chesed - Loving Kindness 


Chesed is the soul's ability and desire to flow outward. To share, express, and give. 


Within G-d, the sefirah of Chesed is the force that motivates creation. The desire to express Himself and be benevolent toward the creation. 


Chesed within the human soul is the desire to love, which is the desire to become one with someone or something outside of the self. The numerical value of the Hebrew word for love, "Ahava," is 13, the same as the numerical value for the Hebrew word for one, "Echod." 


2. Gevurah - Strength, Discipline, Restriction


Gevurah is strength and discipline, which is the opposite extreme of love. If loving kindness sees only the good and wants to give without any restriction, Gevurah, restricts the desire to give and wants to give only to those who are deserving and only to the extent that they are deserving. If the attribute of Chesed wants one to give unconditionally to one's child, the attribute of Gevurah wants the child to earn in order to receive. 


Chesed and Gevurah, love and restriction are two wings that every relationship requires. Love is the desire to be one, yet restriction allows us to respect another person's space, perspective, and needs. If one wants to become one with another person, he may seek to impose his will and perspective upon the other person. The restriction allows one to pull back and respect the other’s right to their own will and perspective.  


3. Tiferet - Beauty, Harmony, Compassion


Loving kindness is associated with the right side, strength with the left side. Tiferet, beauty and harmony is associated with the middle column, which blends and connects the right and the left. 


Compassion blends the perspective of discipline and kindness by acknowledging the view of discipline, that not everyone is deserving, with the view of kindness that seeks to give to everyone. Because compassion is the desire to help even the person who is undeserving, yet, it is elicited specifically by people who require compassion. 


Compassion is the emotional bridge that can easily connect to others. Unlike kindness which is motivated by the giver's desire to give, compassion is the ability to be empathetic, to sense the other person's pain and need. In fact, the Kabbalah explains that while love dictates that we love a limited number of people, our compassion reaches a far wider circle. We have compassion for any stranger, even if we know nothing about the person, even if we never see the person, as long as we sense their pain.  


We may be upset at the behavior of a spouse, a child, or a friend, but as soon as we sense that they are in pain, the resentment and anger will be replaced with compassion and then love. Because once the bridge of compassion is built, the love will flow on the emotional bridge.   


4. Netzach - Victory, Endurance


The first three emotions are considered primary, whereas the second three are their "branches." Victory is the branch of loving kindness and represents the soul power that motivates the person to overcome any obstacle and challenge and carry through that which the loving-kindness motivated them to do. Victory is considered a "branch" and not a primary emotion because it operates even when the underlying love is no longer felt. For example, if a person decides to begin a project, join the military, enroll in medical school, or start writing a book, motivated by love; victory, endurance,  is the motivation to carry through with the project even when the love is not felt. The challenges, obstacles, and distractions which block love motivate victory and endurance. The people who are activated and mobilized by crisis and challenges are the people in whom the attribute of endurance is dominant.   


5. Hod - Submission, Splendor 


Hod, the beauty of commitment. While the attribute of victory is a branch of loving kindness and is therefore rooted in self-expression, Hod, submission, is an extension of the respect of Gevurah-restraint. Even when one no longer feels the sense of awe, the soul has the capacity to be humble and commit to a cause greater than itself. 


6. Yesod - Foundation, Connection


Yesod, the sixth emotion, is a branch of the third emotion of Tiferet-compassion. Compassion is the feeling of empathy, whereas Yesod is the ability to convey the sense of connection to the other. When a child feels the bond of the teacher or parent, they will understand the material far better. Not because the teacher is wise or kind, but rather because the teacher is expressing the attribute of Yesod-connection. 


7. Malchut - Royalty 


Malchut, the final soul power, is expressed through the power of speech. While at first glance, the power of speech does not generate any new content, but rather it is only a conduit to express ideas and emotions; speech will intensify an idea or an emotion. When one verbalizes an idea and communicates it to another, the speaker will reach a deeper understanding of the concept. When one verbalizes one’s feelings, they will magnify and intensify.  


Speech is referred to as sovereignty because it is through words that a person can inspire, motivate, and lead others. G-d created the world through speech, and we "create" our environment through the words and ideas we project. 


 

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