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The third week of Sefirat Ha’Omer, the counting of the days between Passover and Shavuot, is dedicated to the Sephirah of Tiferet – Beauty. (For an explanation of the sephirot, please click here).

While tiferet is literally defined as beauty or adornment, it has a far deeper meaning when associated with the sephirot. When the power of chesed (lovingkindness) and the power of gevurah (inner-strength) are combined in perfect balance, the harmony that results is known as tiferet. The distinction becomes clearer when dispensing charity. Giving a person a generous handout without asking any questions is regarded as chesed. Giving someone advice about how to find work is considered gevurah. Neither is perfect, since the ideal of charity is defined as enabling someone to become self-supportive. Don’t simply give and don’t just lecture, but work with those in need to help them find a balance in their own lives.

The concept of tiferet is often associated with emet, truth, in that one can only see the truth if one looks at life without bias either toward others or toward oneself. This concept is personified by the patriarch Jacob, who combined his grandfather’s chesed and his father’s gevurah. Although Abraham and Isaac each had two sons (Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, respectively), only one of their two sons was able to maintain a relationship with the Divine. Jacob, on the other hand, was able to raise 12 sons (the twelve tribes) all of whom remained dedicated to their family’s spiritual goals.

Copyright © 2010 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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