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Midot Hayom:Day 4: Netzach in Chesed

Toward evening of Adam’s first day, seeing the world gradually growing dark, Adam said, “Woe is I! Because of my sin, God is plunging the world into darkness.” He did not know that this was the natural way of the world. The next morning, noticing the sun rising in the east he was extremely happy. Quickly he built an altar and offered an ox whose horns preceded its hoofs. (All animals were created in their mature form. Since the head was created first, the horns preceded the hoofs. Rashi, Avodah Zarah 8a)


At that time, on Shabbat morning, when Adam brought his offering, three groups of ministering angels came down holding lutes, lyres and all kinds of musical instruments. They joined Adam in singing songs of praise, as it says, “A psalm, a song for the Shabbat day. It is good to thank God, and to sing to Your name, O Exalted One. To relate Your kindness in the morning and Your faith in the nights.” (Psalm 92:1-3)

“To relate Your kindness in the morning,” refers to the World to Come, which is compared to the morning. (Avot of Rabbi Nathan 1:8)

Even moments we take to be simple and natural, are not only expressions of God’s Chesed – Nurturing Life Force – but also actually an expression of the Eternal Chesed of Olam Habah – The World to Come.

Adam offered “an ox whose horns preceded its hoofs” to express his understanding that a simple sunrise was an expression of both, the beginning and the fulfillment of Creation. His offering, so connected to the eternal forces of the creation – Netzach – attracted the attention of the highest angels, who quickly arrived to join Adam in this moment of eternal clarity.

A simple act of Chesed can be connected to the same moments: the beginning and the fulfillment of Creation. It is an act of Chesed that is an expression that “I” exist only because of the Chesed – Life Force – that brought all into existence. My act of Chesed is an acknowledgment that I exist only because of God’s Chesed.

It is also an expression of hope and faith that ultimately everything will fit together and make sense.

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