4. Sephirah Chesed – Mercy – The Consciousness of Receiving
Chesed is the Sephirah of infinite divine love, goodness and grace. She is the Sephirah of loving care, compassion, grace, understanding and mercy. It is a form of unselfish love and stands for the desire to give. Chesed is the first Sephirah in the world of design. Thus, the Sephirah Chesed is the source of all charitable powers, from which the power of primordial radiance emerges.
It symbolizes the fourth Sephirah on the Tree of Life of Kabbalah. Another Kabbalistic name for Chesed is GEDULAH (grace). It is the power that builds. Microcosmically, Chesed is attributed to memory, which is something other than personal memory. It is the memory of the cosmos. Chesed stands on the right column Jachin under Chokmah (wisdom) and over Netzach (victory). This Sephirah is the highest of the triangle of individuality. The planet Jupiter is assigned to her. Jupiter corresponds to Zeus, the king of the Greek pantheon. But Jupiter also stands for social responsibility. Chesed is assigned the image of the ‘Just King,’ the benevolent and wise ruler who governs the kingdom according to the laws of the cosmos. This level is also assigned to the Chasidim, the masters of compassion. True compassion is always in balance with a firm justice represented by the next Sephirah, Geburah. The basic task of man is to keep the balance between grace and severity. Weakness in the wrong situation would allow tyranny.
At the level of return symbolized by Chesed, man remembers who God is, what the universe is, why he was created and what the purpose of his life is. It is the universal chronicle, the scroll in which the entire history of creation is recorded. The Old Testament of the Bible with the story of creation could only be written because of this collective memory. In Chesed, Christ serves as the revealer of the mysteries, the laws of God and the unity of life. His most important message is: “Be still and know that I am God.”
When man has the spiritual maturity for higher teachings, he will receive personal teachers to instruct him. Some then come into contact with a mystery school, others with a spiritual group.
Behind it, however, is always the ONE inner teacher who teaches through these outer channels. This teacher knows the way and the goal. He leads through pressure and purification until the transformation is completed. As long as selfish behavior patterns still prevail, the student needs radical ethical moderation. The projecting light of God can only give joy when there is a vessel of receiving. The purer the vessel of personality becomes, the more light can be absorbed. Man learns to receive in order to generously share God’s gifts with his fellow men.
The quality of God is to give, the quality of creation is to receive. Man is the mediator and becomes the Creator as soon as he applies the divine quality of giving. This Sephirah frees from personal fate. However, if immature qualities are still present in humans, i.e. if humans only want to take and give nothing, they act antisocially. Every human being has abilities that he can use for the benefit of his fellow human beings.
Birth is the severity that Chesed faces as grace. Both poles must be in balance to create harmony in life. The necessity of both poles as a basic principle of creation is made clear by the fact that there is an opposite pole in matter to each pole. The alternation of day and night is necessary to experience the dark and light sides of polarity.
The quality of Chesed is goodwill towards the needy and one’s enemies. Self-consciousness dissolves into benevolence; accusations disappear in the light of mercy. The key that opens us to the inexhaustible riches of the world is a benevolent attitude.