Gevurah. Power. Boundaries. Judgment. Chesed she’b’Gevurah. Judgment tempered by Love.
My husband is a cognitive psychologist. So he has thought a lot about how minds work. How people collect information, organize it, and use it to make judgments. So, today I interviewed him.
Here’s a bit of what he said.
Raw judgment is dangerous. Let me explain what I mean. “Judgment” is finding fault in people. “Raw” means it’s not tempered by the other sefirot [spiritual qualities]. “Dangerous” means it pushes you down a rabbit hole. Where the person you’re judging becomes more and more of a negative figure.
Then, we started talking about case studies. Suppose you are parents of a young adult child. They’re not in danger. But you don’t think they are making good decisions. So, you worry about them all the time. Should you say so? How often? How strongly?
Suppose they already know what you think. And they look at you with a searching expression. As if they’re asking, “Are you judging me? Right now?” And suppose it breaks your heart. What can you do?
Here’s what my husband said next.
You can keep the struggle internal. You don’t have stop the thoughts. But try not to express them. It’s okay to notice that you want a person to be different. But remember that you love them. And when you love someone, you don’t focus on their faults.
Really, all people are flawed. Falling in love isn’t about finding a perfect person. Instead, it’s about finding someone whose quirks you’re willing to live with. And that’s a commitment.
My husband’s approach isn’t the same as mine. I want to burn away all negative judgments with a spiritual fire. But he accepts their existence, and looks for strategies to counter them.
That’s what he means, I think, when he says: temper your judgment with the other sefirot, the other spiritual qualities.
Today is day 8 of the Omer, one week and one day.
New to the Omer count? Here’s a primer.