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Equanimity


By Rebbetzin Revi Belk

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

 

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Rise above events that are inconsequential - both bad and good for they are not worth disturbing your equanimity.

Cheshbon Ha Nefesh

 

For in equanimity, there is balance and level-headedness, the desire for equality.  This middah helps us to stay focused in the easiest and hardest of times. With this trait, we can rise above events that are inconsequential-- both bad and good. To be even-keeled and have the ability to maintain composure is a powerful trait.

Inconsequemtial (insignificant, negligible, minor, trivial)

(that's an inconsequential problem compared to the other issues)

 

Rabbi Isaac Luria had this to say about equanimity.

 

A rabbi once came to one of the contemplative Kabbalists and asked to be accepted as an initiate.  The Masters said to him,  My son, may G-d Bless you, for your intentions are good. Tell me, though, whether or not you have attained equanimity.  The rabbi said to him,  Master, please explain your words.  The Master replied,  If there were two people, and one of them honored you and the other insulted you, are they equal in your eyes?  The rabbi answered, No, my Master. For I feel pleasure and satisfaction from the one who honors me, and pain from the insults of the other.  But I do not take revenge or bear a grudge.   The Master blessed the rabbi and sent him away.  Go in peace, my son. When you have attained equanimity, your soul does not feel the honor deriving from one who honors you nor the embarrassment a rising from insults.  Your consciousness is not yet ready to be attached to the supernal. Everyday Holiness Alan Morinis page 103

 

Calmness of soul is kind of similar to independence.  When we reach this place we are not tossed about by life's circumstances.  This first part of our path is not obtained by simply desiring it - we have to take action.  In Mussar literature we find the phrase distance yourself  referred to a lot - but what does that mean - how do we do this?  Let's examine this phrase.  To distance oneself from the circumstances that enter our lives seems to be exactly the tool we need to acquire calmness of soul.

 

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We are capable of patiently enduring any  difficulty in life when we believe that everything comes from HaShem and that everything is for the best.  Patient endurance, the result of emuna (faith), paves the road to genuine tranquility.  Genuine tranquility means a worry free, peaceful, and happy existence.  With emuna, we avoid untold emotional wear and tear.  The Garden of Emuna Rabbi Shalom Aruch Page 75

 

Does that mean that we don't pray for good things?  Do we just accept the status quo?  No it doesn't mean that at all.  We have free will.  We have the ability to make choices, however, there are some events in life that we can't control.  This is where we try to enter the Garden of Emuna, where we can and do accept this event as a test, a way for us to see if we are acquiring calmness of soul.  There are times when we need to step away from powerful outer forces but we cannot step away from our inner powerful forces.

 

Jochabed was an amazing woman.   She was born by the gates of Mitzaim (Egypt).

Jochebed was so called because her face was like the ziv hakavod splendor of glory; Midrash Haggadah. Genesis  23:1. She was born during the journey of the children of Israel to Egypt  Genesis  Rabbah. 94:9. She was 130 when she gave birth to Moses. She is the daughter  of Levi Shemot (Exodus)  2.1  her youth returned to her, her skin becoming smooth and the wrinkles of age disappearing when she became pregnant with Moses Genesis Rabbah  94.9.

Jochebed is identified with Shiphrah Shemot (Exodus) 1.15, because the Israelites were fruitful - she-peru - in her days Sotah 11b  The houses given to the two Hebrew midwives Shemot(Exodus) 1.21 means that she was destined to become the ancestress of the priestly family Exodus  Rabbah 1:17. She survived all her children and was permitted to enter Eretẓ Israel with Joshua when she was 250.  Ishei ha-Tanakh

But the midwives feared G-d, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.  Shemot (Exodus) 1.17

 

What a brave woman.  To stand before Pharoah, agree to his command and not do what she was commanded because she feared HaShem.  This woman had equanimity.  Under extreme circumstances she kept her mind and soul calm and figured the best way to handle the situation.

 

Have we taken the first step(s) this week on our journey?

Have we taken the time to begin to record our journey?

 

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Blessings and Peace


Rebbetzin Revi


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