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

The strength that is defined by the term gevurah has nothing to do with muscular, raw physical power. Gevurah is about inner strength or willpower. For most people, this translates into living a disciplined life and living a life based on one’s convictions.

Gevurah complements the other building blocks of creation and gives life focus. For instance, a person who relates only to chesed, lovingkindness, might spend their entire life doing good for others. While this is commendable on many levels, it is often an impediment to true self-growth.

The first chapter of the Book of Genesis, which describes God’s actions in creating the world, uses only the Divine name Eh’loh’him, a name that reflects din, justice. It is only in the second chapter of Genesis that the name Ah’doh’nai, which is seen as a reflection of rachamim, mercy, is used. Justice is an important aspect of gevurah, while rachamim is a reflection of chesed. The Midrash tells us that while God originally intended to create the world entirely based on justice, He recognized that, in order for human society to survive, justice/gevurah needed to be tempered with mercy. In other words, gevurah needs chesed (Source: Bereshith Rabba 12:10 and 14:1).

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