On a similar note, this blog will be about Haftarat Balak. In the Jewish tradition, when a portion of the Torah is read during services, a portion of the Haftarah, or the succeeding books of the Bible, is read as well. When I had my Bar Mitzvah back in 1994, the passage from the Haftarah was from the book of Micah. The most renowned scripture from this book reads from 6:8:
Higid l'cha adam, mah-tov; umah-Adonai doreish mimcha, ki im-asot mishpat, v'ahava chesed, v'hatzneya lechet, im-Elohecha.
It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the LORD doth require of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.
To summarize, justice and mercy represent the feminine and masculine attributes of humanity. Although Western civilization often associates justice (Gevurah) with man and mercy (Chesed) with woman, it is essentially intended to be the opposite in the Tree of Life. In Buddhism, the middle path is often emphasized. This is also the case in Kabbalah, for there are not two but three columns. Femininity lies on the left and masculinity on the right, but the column in the middle is the asexual bridge between the female and the male. So therefore, humility and purity are to be embodied by all, with the crown of the Creator (Keter) on the apex of the middle column, and the tree as a whole. We need the balance of all three columns, maintaining a balance of the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves, all the while staying centered and linking to the Light. From there, we can transcend the physical world (Malchut) and create a direct connection to the Creator.
Naturally, I did not appreciate this scripture from Micah when I turned 13, but now that I am 30, there is definitely a grand appreciation I have for this verse. As I stated in the previous blog entry, stepping outside of the comfort zone is important and spiritual journeys are not all jolly at times. One does need to suffer regardless. However, it is more rewarding to suffer actively than stagnantly, for there is a greater reward in the continuing confrontation of one's insecurities and personal demons. In life, there is no turning back. You either stay still and create an illusion of regression, or move forward and evolve. Hopefully, anybody who reads this will choose the latter option.