Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Book is here!

After four years the book is finally here!

and official webstie !

Rabbi B

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Love, Dating and Matchmaking....

As you probably can figure out, getting good Love, Dates and Marriages depends a great deal on getting the right two personalities together.

It's like weaving a tapestry with similar threads so that the colors look good together.

It's like putting a crisp white sail on a cobalt blue sailboat; things need to be complementary and work well together.

It's like trying to get a horse and a mule to pull a cart together...well..that wasn't so romantic but my father-in-law the Netzach says it all the time so it must be wisdom! That's what happens when the personalities clash, but let's save that for later in the blog!

In honor of Tu B'Av, the 15th of Av when the maidens would borrow gorgeous white clothing and go (appropriately mind you) dance for the men and many matches were made (See Gemara Taanis at the end) let's get a little bit into Love and Marriage.

If you are setting two people up for marriage, you need to have two personalities that mesh. Imagine two Hods working together to help others, like in the post I made "Meet the Hods" or even a Hod and Netzach getting along. They are all people who are caring and want to help others. They go well together.

And a Yisod and Tiferes? Gold. Love each other. Each one respects the other and doesn't give 'em a hard time. A Malchus and Gevurah? That can for sure work pretty often. They both are serious people who are tough-minded. I always tell Tifereses to try and marry Hods, they will be supportive of the Tifereses unique view of the world and their fluctuating schedule when they are creating.

Of course secondary middos can change things, like a Yisod-Gevurah and a Tiferes-Hod will rub each other the wrong way usually. Or if that Malchus is a Malchus-Hod he may not want to wed a Gevurah-Gevurah or a Gevurah-Malchus. But let's stick with the primary middos and save the more complicated stuff for the book.

Cheseds can get along great because they think alike, you just have to look at their second middos to see if they'll go well together. Chesed-Tiferes and Chesed-Hod? Good stuff. But a Chesed-Tiferes and a Chesed-Gevurah? That is not recommended so much......

So if you are a true shadchan (or as my still single friend calls them "Shotgun") or amateur matchmakers: studyup!* The Seven Ways makes this whole process much easier. Think about who you know. What is their personality?

Complementary personalities are great and similar ones work very well, too. But extreme opposites and people who really detract from each other, I mean like hurt each other and step on each other's toes (maybe smash their toes is better verb) should not be set up. If you or your friend have had a really bad date, it probably had to do with the personalities involved.

Of course you have to use your brain and check out who you are setting up on many more levels (if they have a way to support themselves, character traits like generosity and anger), but the Seven Ways guidelines for matches can get people better dates and help marriages even. But I guess marriage is destined for a future blog!

Rabbi B

*These two words are intentionally put together for all you grammar lovers, but any other constructive caring advice is always welcome.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Part 2: Intelligent Netzach Questions

As for your second question: Yes, there are ways to tell if someone is a Chesed besides process of elimination. Cheseds have qualities that are specific to their personality. They are fans of The System (those societal and cultural norms and rules that people subscribe to) and like to follow it. They trust what society teaches and are naturally inclined to follow leaders. (Yes they, too, can be leaders; we’ll speak about that in a sec.)

When your average Chesed speaks, he will sound slightly different than a Gevurah, though Gevurahs also follow The System. A Gevurah’s following of The System is much more intense.

If a Chesed saw his classmate about to leave school early he would say “What’s going on? We’re supposed to go to Rabbi Silverman’s class at one-o’-clock” while a Gevurah would say “Where are you going?! We’re supposed to go to class now!” It has more of a tough-minded sound and feel to it. He may not yell (though some Gevurahs can be loud) but he’ll have a certain resolve and seriousness in their voice that Cheseds don’t have.

Yes, you may find Cheseds saying what Gevurahs usually say, the exact wording is not the way to tell who is who. Listen closely to the intonation of the person’s voice and the unspoken message behind what he is saying. Is he simply, politely sounds like he’s saying “The System (i.e. going to class) is what we are supposed to do” then he’s a Chesed. If he firmly sounds like he’s saying “How could you not obey The System?! It’s what people do!” that’s Gevurah all the way.

Cheseds also enjoy simpler, 9 to 5 type jobs and the main sphere of life that they like to spend time in is at home. Their immediate family is their life. Other personalities naturally have different takes on this topic. A Netzach views his family as his family but he may view his students as a second family. Yisods tend to compartmentalize their lives and view family as a wonderful part of their life, but they allot specific time for it just like they allot time for their job. All three of these types love their families, but Cheseds plan all of their trips with and naturally spend the vast majority of their time with their families. Their natural inclination is towards going home and staying there.

Cheseds, as I mentioned, naturally follow their society’s leaders. That’s not to say that Cheseds cannot become leaders. Cheseds have the unique ability to mold themselves into who they want to be so they *can* mold themselves into being leaders, as well. And even if they are leaders they inevitably study up on what a leader would do in their situation; they can’t always think of the right way to lead and solve their System’s problems. So you will inevitably hear them quote what other skilled and/or famous people have done and how the Chesed has patterned himself after those methodologies. Later Cheseds especially are able to take on leadership roles, they get this from Avraham Avinu, who “walked in front of Hashem”, as opposed to Noah who only “walked with Hashem” (1). And Later Cheseds lead me to your 3rd question…

You mentioned that Cheseds make up 50% of the Jewish population and you brought up that knowing a Chesed’s secondary Middah must be essential. These are true, but I must clarify for you.

The category of “Earlier Cheseds” is made up of anyone with the Chesed-Chesed personality, and ‘Later Cheseds” includes Chesed-Gevurah, Chesed-Tiferes…all the way down to Chesed-Malchus. (Because of your question I have reinstituted this explanation in the sidebar on the right side of the page.) Though I consider both Later and Earlier Cheseds to be true Cheseds, Later Cheseds exhibit slightly different qualities. Most of them are much more preoccupied with being organized than Earlier Cheseds and all of them enjoy order. They enjoy efficiency, things running on time, knowing logistically how to travel somewhere or how a new gadget functions. They still subscribe to The System as Cheseds but they enjoy order and organization much more.

And one last thing…yes 50% of Jews are Cheseds but 50% of those are Later Cheseds. In other words, ¼ of Jewish people are Chesed-Chesed and ¼ Later Cheseds. I haven’t dealt with percentages yet in this blog, but because you wrote such a good question and, also, because you are becoming so well informed about The Seven Ways I am happy to bring it up it here.

I hope my email/blog finds you well and that I have answered your questions to the best of my knowledge. May you be continually blessed with the light of Torah and merit to understand people as well as you understand the words of our sages.

Ian Bailey, Jerusalem תשס"ח

(1) Tanchuma Noach 5, Bereishis Rabbah 30:10

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Responsa #2: Intelligent Questions from an Intelligent Netzach

My good friend and colleague Reb Daniel Chaim Fast, Shlitah, your email reached me at 6:35 am this morning, the 12th of Sivan תשס"ח Sunday June 15th, Fathers Day on the secular calendar(*) it warmed my heart to hear your wonderful questions. I will try my best to answer them in the style of our Torah, first question first, the last one last.

I am splitting this response into a couple of blogs so they don’t get too long.

You wrote:

3 questions:

(1) Are middos raos (bad character traits/patterns of actions) such as ca'as/anger, kina/jealousy, tayva/desire for physical pleasures, cavod/desire for honor, etc. found more in specific personalities, or are they totally independent?

(2) How does one tell a Chesed, aside from process of elimination?

(3) Seeing that approximately half the world are Chesed personalities, it would seem to be extremely important to know specifically
about the particulars of each secondary
midah for Cheseds. Which secondary middos make a "Later Chesed"?

(1) Yes, certain personalities are more susceptible to certain bad character traits and challenges. Let's go through the ones you listed.

Caas/Anger: I've found that *pure* anger, as in impatience, irritability and hostility is found in Malchus people and many Gevurahs (When we say a certain personality like ‘Malchus’ we also mean to include many people whose 2nd Middah is Malchus). These are the two aggressive personalities. They get very upset when they think that people are messing with The System (those societal and cultural norms and rules that the general populace subscribe to.)

Malchus people can't understand why in the world you don't think the way they do. They live in a very cerebral world and their cerebrum in the one that counts!

Gevurahs view themselves as the defenders of The System and most get angry when they see a breach in The System.

Don’t get me wrong, every personality gets angry, but that anger is more of an 'irk' than real rage. For example, Hods feel upset when they see people taking advantage of others, Tifereses when they feel others are being mean or ruining a perfectly happy experience that they are going through; Netzachs get pretty upset when they see people destroying morality or blatantly violating sacred things.

Yisods get mad when they see inefficiency in an organization or when they feel that not everyone is getting a change to interact with each other or exchange ideas (i.e. one selfish person is hogging the conversation), and, finally, Cheseds usually only get mad at the normal things people get mad in every day life (like annoying coworkers, family, traffic, etc.)

As for jealousy, I’ve found that Tiferes and Chesed people suffer from this Middah Raah the most. Cheseds (especially Earlier Cheseds) are jealous of people who have unique talents, but they need to realize that they are able to mold themselves into who they want to be so, in the end, they can become the very person who they are jealous of. Tifereses are jealous and I’m still trying to fully understand why. I myself am not a Tiferes of Chesed so this jealousy seems a bit foreign to me. But I think that a Tiferes’ powerful imagination can put them in another person’s shoes and they become jealous that they can’t be that person. Also, “a craftsman only hates people in his own craft”, so Tiferes people become very jealous when they have competition in the field that they are creative in.

Listen, any person or personality has the ability to be jealous. A Yisod director gets jealous and nervous when another Yisod starts working is his office. The point is that we’re usually jealous when we want something we don’t have and we feel like we deserve that thing or it’s part of our lot in life.

Yisods *by far* are the ones who suffer from the desire for physical pleasures. They have so much natural raw energy that drives them that enjoying physical pleasure comes naturally to them. The problem is when they take it to far and overindulge. Tifereses are second, followed by Hods. Tifereses enjoy physical pleasure and often use it to stimulate their creative juices. And Hods are so emotional that food makes their body feel good, especially when they’re upset.

Malchuses and Gevurahs desire honor much more that any other personality. I would assume that you find them in the anger and honor categories because these two negative character traits are related. If I feel like I’m so great that no one should step on me and everyone should think I’m the best (honor/ full of myself) then I’ll probably be very upset (anger) when people put me down and try to step on me. Rambam lists them as two traits that a person must not have any bit of.

In others words, you are absolutely right. Each personality is susceptible to it’s own unique set of challenges. That’s why it’s sooooooooo important for you to know yourself, so you can know your challenges and be able to conquer them.

Next week is part #2 of this responsa, stay tuned!

(*) I am writing this response in the style of our great rabbis and Torah sages.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Responsa #1: A Naturopathic Tiferes

Our first question comes to us from a Tiferes-Hod who is in medical school to become a naturopathic doctor. He writes:

How does one determine their 2nd Sfirah? Is it like astrology, where the sun is who you truly are and your rising is people's first impression of you?


First of all, I love your question because it is *sooooooooooo* Tiferes ;-) . It's clear that you have a curious mind and have studied up on various systems of understanding people and life. That's great. You'll enjoy The Seven Ways system.

Second, I must admit that I'm not well versed in astrology, so I can't directly address the second part of your question about rising suns (though there are actually various Torah sources for different constellations and "Mazalos" "cosmic destinies" that people have), but I can help you better understand how to figure out what your/other people's second Middas/Sfiros are.

And-hello!-by the way, it's sooooooooo important to know your second Sfirah. Like, let's say you're trying to get married and you are a Hod and your prospective date is a Netzach. Sounds promising, right? You care about people he/she cares about them, too, and wants to educate them. Works out very well and is a recommended, complimentary match, right? It is......

Unless your second Middah is Tiferes and their's is Gevurah! That could be a *big* *huge* conflict zone. Tiferes and Gevurah rarely mesh very well. It's worth a date or maybe two but you can't encourage those people to keep dating if they aren't getting along in those areas. While your Tiferes side is making jokes, their Gevurah wants to talk business and finds it annoying. Where his/her Gevurah side wants to suddenly an firmly end things on time, your Tiferes may be enjoying itself and want to go over time. Could be very, very not good.

So, the answer is to know yourself. As we've been discussing in the Sfiros Haomer combinations, someone's personality is made up of a combo of two different Sfiros.

Remember Hod-Yisod? A Hod-Yisod makes deep relationships (Yisod) with people through helping them (Hod). He invents active, innovative (Yisod) ideas to heal (Hod) people. But it can be really tough to figure that out by looking at someone, especially when a person could be any one of 49 combos!

So the easiest method that will get you to understand people most of the time is to pick up on different patterns or significant actions in their behavior. Doctor Josh, you should dissect their actions; break them down into parts until you can see each component as a slice of one of the Seven Ways.

Let's take *you*, Josh, a Tiferes-Hod. You will have *all* of the characteristics of a Tiferes and *some* of a Hod. You probably have certain creative activities that you like to do like writing poetry or stories and doing art and (possibly) gardening. The choice to become a naturopathic doctor is also clearly a Tiferes choice. It has elements of the hippy and natural side that many Tifereses have. These are Tiferes components that you must isolate in your personality.

In terms ofHod, I suspect that you like the idea of being a doctor so you can care for others and heal them. You are probably sweet and kind and want the best for others. You often, but not always, find yourself listening to others' problems and empathizing with them. These are hod components.

But maybe you're Hod-Tiferes? How do you know which one to put where?

Take a look at your *main character*. That's your first Sfirah/Middah. You have *all* of the characteristics of a Tiferes. But what you *specialize* in, that's your secondary Sfirah. You will have *some* of the characteristics of a Hod. You aren't always running to help people, it's only part of your life.

I suggest that you also study a bit of art therapy which is an idea based on Tiferes-Hod. To use art to heal. This may become a nice part of your practice as you heal people physically and emotionally. (Maybe get a bit of training in counseling, too.)

So, Josh, to sum it all up, you will know what your secondary Middah is because you will have some of the characteristics of that personality, and it's the area that you specialize in, though it's not your main character.

I wish you the best of luck and keep on sending us your questions so we can help you find your Way.

Best wishes,

Rabbi Bailey