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Midot Hayom 5770 Day 20: Yesod in Tiferet

Jacob was in great distress, [for] he feared that his father might recognize him and discover the [deception]. Then Esau’s spirit entered him [so that he would resemble Esau] and he cried, “Hashem, deliver my soul from lying lips” [i.e., from

Esau’s spirit] (Psalms 120:2) (Zohar 1:143a).

Jacob understood that a careful deception was necessary to fool his father. He would not succeed by simply pretending to be Esau, wearing his clothes, and wrapping wool around his arms. Jacob and Esau were more than twins; the verse hints that they were deeply, perhaps even physically, connected. Jacob had worked hard until this moment to be the Jacob part of him, “The simple man, who dwelled in tents,” and to avoid any resemblance to Esau. At this moment Jacob realized that he would have to connect to the Esau part of him in order to fool Isaac.

Jacob had assiduously avoided one part of himself, the Esau in him, and lacked true internal balance or Tiferet. He would have to connect to the Esau part of him in such a powerful way that he would “Be” Esau, or as the Zohar teaches, in order for Esau’s spirit to enter him.

He would not succeed by holding on to the Jacob all knew in order to protect his integrity. He would have to achieve such a high level of integrity, or Yesod, that he could be Esau without holding onto Jacob. He cried, “Hashem, deliver my soul from lying lips,” as if to say, “I cannot succeed without Your help.” His highest quality, Tiferet, did not come from him, but from God. He did his part by maintaining that awareness.

Many people believe that we can grow as we should and achieve balance or Tiferet by avoiding the parts of ourselves that are “dangerous,” difficult to control, or too painful to acknowledge.

Someone will completely deny his anger because he has successfully avoided conflict all his life and has a reputation as a Tzaddik. His is actually quite angry, but denies his feelings even to him. Such a person lacks Tiferet.

A person denies his unhappiness in a relationship simply because he fears the implications of acknowledging his feelings. He lacks Tiferet and will damage his relationship more through his denial, than he would by dealing with his feelings, or, in other words, with Tiferet.

Any such work to achieve Tiferet demands directly confronting a powerful part of him, and he will only succeed with Yesod, the integrity to acknowledge that his achievement of Tiferet is not his, but God’s.


Are there parts of you that you studiously avoid in fear or losing whatever balance you have in your life?

Recognize that avoiding and denial is not Tiferet.

Use this day of Sefirah to specifically pray for God’s help in acknowledging and confronting these parts of you.

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