Mussar and Kabbalah and Talmud

Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Tara. Covid. Chill pills. Great Sol. Bringing the morning. Good workout. Studying Perkei Avot, Chapters of the Fathers to present in mussar today. Practicing torah portion. Reading Judaism without Tribalism by Rabbi Rami Shapiro. Wow. Finishing the third book of the Three Worlds Problem trilogy. Cooked last night.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Summerweight Comforter

One brief shining: With a twinge of guilt I separated the one pound of lean beef into patties, hit the induction button and turned it to 8 under my Lodge cast iron skillet, waited a bit and tossed the seasoned patties on its hot metal, yes, a steer killed by proxy for me, yes, red meat with cholesterol, but oh every once in a while a burger sure tastes good.


My workouts go well. I’ve figured out how to navigate cardio and resistance with my back. Can do as much as I need without having to quit. Mostly. If I do feel my hip beginning to ouch very much, I will stop, having learned that if I don’t things get worse quick. Now using oxygen in the evenings as well as at night. Waiting on a call for a new P.E.T. scan.


Prepping right now for mussar class this afternoon. Perkei Avot. The Chapters of the Fathers. For example:

Pirkei Avot 1:14

(14) He [Rabbi Hillel] used to say: If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when?

(16) He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.

(1) Ben Zoma says: Who is the wise one? He who learns from all men…

Who is the mighty one? He who conquers his impulse…

Who is the rich one? He who is happy with his lot…

Who is honored? He who honors the created beings…


Not sure what tact I’m going to take with all this. Traditionally studied in the six weeks between Pesach and Shavuot. Passover and the giving of the torah at the foot of Mt. Sinai.


Also this period includes counting the omer. I mentioned this a while back. The omer, the grains, counted between Pesach and Shavuot, are a kabbalistic ritual involving blessing the omer each night and correlating those nights with sefirot from the tree of life.

For example, today is the gevurah of hod. Gevurah is the recognition of limits and boundaries. It is strength to enforce godly values. With its immediate counterpart, Hesed, loving kindness, Gevurah recognizes the power to enforce justice.

But today is the gevurah of hod. Hod is humility. Taking up the right amount of space. The strength of humility, the gevurah of hod, lies in our ability to be in the world as we are, not as other people or our culture believe we should be.

Somewhere in all this there’s some kind of lesson. Right?