Middah of the Month of Sh’vat: Courage

“It was the result of God’s wisdom that the Israelites were led about in the wilderness until they acquired courage.” Moses Maimonides, Guide to the Perplexed, part 3 32:2

Midot require cultivation, perhaps especially in situations where fear and uncertainty predominate. We might think it took ometz lev to leave Egypt, but Maimonides suggests it was the wilderness where the former slaves acquired courage.

“Who is the mighty one? He who conquers his impulse, as it says, “slowness to anger is better than a mighty person and the ruler of his spirit than the conqueror of a city.”” Proverbs 16:32, quote from Pirkei Avot 4:1.

Courage of the heart is an inner matter. “A man walking on the road saw a pack of dogs and felt afraid of them, so he sat down amongst them.” Genesis Rabbah 84:5

  • What fear could you face today?
  • Who do you know as an example of heart-courage?
  • Who do you know who needs ometz lev in their life right now? How might you encourage them?

“Chesed is to ometz lev as rain is to a withering plant.” Rabbi Sid Schwartz in his sermon, Profiles in Courage

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