Tiferet/Harmony Intention: Omer Week 3

image of stones at the beach with a stack of stones on the right with the words: Tiferet/Harmony Intention: Omer Week 3

This spiritual reflection and intention is a part of Counting the Omer. You can find more information on this mitzvah and how to observe it there here.

What is Tiferet?

The third quality (middah)  is Tiferet, which is the quality of compassion, of balancing or harmonizing or blending together different values.  The first two weeks we met Chesed/Unconditional Love and Gevurah/Discernment or Judgment.  With Tiferet, we seek a balance with both Chesed and Gevurah, recognizing that we thrive in the harmonizing both/and.

Other translations of Tiferet are:

  1. Harmony
  2. Truth
  3. Balance

So what? How does it relate to me?

With others:

Tiferet invites building relationships that do not prioritize one person or one value over another. Rather, Tiferet is founded in the recognition that life is lived in imperfect and muddy compromise. And, in fact, that such a compromise is laudable; and, in fact, is a value unto itself.

Tiferet is foundational for meaningful relationships since we must create enough space for another to thrive; yet, simultaneously, bringing the totality of ourselves to the relationship. Only with Tiferet can we learn from each other, grow in our respective ways, and flourish together.

In truth, Tiferet is essential for all healthy, lasting relationships.

With ourself:

Tiferet reminds us that life is lived in a constant triage of our foundational values; not in the abstract, where a single value is maximized (regardless of how important it may be). Reflecting the human condition, Tiferet represents the epistemology of truth. Knowledge and what is knowable is determined, in part, by our very human, unique, and imperfect selves. This humility requires a wisdom for acceptance of imperfection even as we strive to improve, to grow, and to mature.

With God:

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” We meet holiness and the Holy One not in perfection, nor in perfecting any one ideal, but in the humble striving to perfect ourselves, our relationships, and our world. The humility of acceptance paves the way for harmony, for balance, and for truth.

Gevurah practice for the week:

  1. In what ways are you allowing perfection to be an impediment?
  2. How can you best create balance in your life?
  3. What ideal are you willing to compromise in order to bring more of it into the world?

Author

  • Rabbi Meir Goldstein is blessed to be the Senior Jewish Educator at the Oregon Hillel Foundation and Judaic Studies lecturer at the University of Oregon. He elevates human dignity by building a community of learners. Rabbi Goldstein attended the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University, earning an MA in Rabbinic Studies in 2003 and Rabbinic Ordination in 2006. When not at work, he is happiest on a hiking trail, playing guitar, or studying. Rabbi Goldstein lives in the holy city of Eugene, Oregon, with his wife, Laura, and their loving (yet bossy) shih tzu, Koofi.

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