Ten Days: Seven Secrets


There are seven workdays within the Ten Days of Repentance, but they are anything but mundane. This one week can fix the entire year. How does one achieve this? It's easy, just follow the secrets of the Sefirot [Countings]. Within every Jew is the ability to either sweeten, or sour the world, depending on one's actions. Since our fate is hanging in limbo until it is sealed on Yom Kippur, we have the potential to change any negative decrees. Three of the Ten Days are holidays, so we are already on our best behavior, but the remaining seven are a challenge. Each of these seven days would logically correspond to one of the lower seven Sefirot. This provides an awesome opportunity to repair specific midot [character traits] on each day. Below is a daily list that outlines some things we can focus on, and some things we should avoid, in order to improve ourselves during this time. This is in no way an exhaustive or mandatory listing, it is just a general guideline to keep in mind.

Please note: The specific explanation of the dynamics of the kabbalistic concept of Sefirot is beyond the scope of this essay. It is enough for us to know that each action we take helps to prepare us spiritually to repair the flow of blessing into the world. However, one thing to remember concerning the Sefirot is that they always function as one unit. Even though we refer to one individual attribute, it is inseparable from any other attribute. Likewise, though we may focus on improving one character trait (such as kindness), we must not forget to control another character trait (such as temper). One who always remembers this will not err.

The First Day,

Chesed [charity; kindness].

Focus on:
1. Having guests;
2. Doing mitzvot [good deeds / Torah commandments];
3. Bestowing honor to rabbis and distinguished people;
4. Helping others;
5. Making an effort to make peace with someone you don't get along with well;
6. Making time for someone special in your life; and,
7. Giving to a religious organization.

1. Things that instill desire;
2. Paying attention to others' charity in an envious way;
3. Seeking credit for all the good that you do;
4. Doing anything that might make others do something prohibited;
5. Immodest situations;
6. Contributing to a conversation involving gossip; and,
7. Getting benefit or recognition for your generosity.

The Second Day,

Gevurah [bravery; strength].

Focus on:
1. Having a proper reverence for Hashem;
2. Studying Torah in merit of someone who is sick or needy;
3. Studying Torah for its own sake;
4. Trying to do the Will of Hashem;
5. Making peace with fellow Jews;
6. Trying to see Hashem in nature; and,
7. Having extra concentration in prayer.

1. Becoming jealous or envious;
2. Over-admiring someone's spouse;
3. Trying to outdo someone else;
4. Looking for faults in others;
5. Dwelling on monetary injustice;
6. Keeping up appearances; and,
7. Coveting someone else's possessions.

The Third Day,

Tiferet [splendor; beauty].

Focus on:
1. Seeking the truth and happiness in Torah study;
2. Supporting Torah scholars;
3. Studying halacha [Torah law];
4. Soul-searching to improve a bad character trait;
5. Trying to make others happy;
6. Trying to do the right thing; and,
7. Looking for the good in others.

1. Self-recognition or honor;
2. Wishing that others would give you honor;
3. Taking advantage of others;
4. Priding oneself in finding exceptions to the law;
5. Getting upset with someone who doesn't honor you;
6. Making yourself look good by putting others down; and,
7. Buying things to impress others.

The Fourth Day,

Netzach [eternity; patience].

Focus on:
1. Humility, and meekness;
2. Visiting the sick;
3. Trying to view others as better than yourself;
4. Studying Mussar [morals/ethics];
5. Admitting that something was your fault;
6. Getting along with everyone; and,
7. How insignificant you are in comparison to the universe.

1. Prohibited things and causing trouble or strife;
2. Prohibited things that you secretly desire;
3. Seeking revenge,
4. Stretching the truth in order to make yourself look good;
5. Arguments;
6. Publicizing flaws of others; and,
7. Causing others to be jealous by flaunting possessions or wealth.

The Fifth Day,

Hod [glory; diplomacy].

Focus on:
1. Seeking shalom [peace];
2. Helping others to seek shalom;
3. Having faith and trust in Hashem;
4. Studying about the future redemption;
5. Acknowledging when you are wrong;
6. Not allowing stress to bother you; and,
7. Bringing shalom between a husband and wife.

1. Getting upset, angry, or enraged;
2. Becoming upset over something you desire, but can't have;
3. Being angry that someone else has something that you deserve;
4. Getting upset if someone makes you look bad or outdoes you;
5. Blaming others;
6. Retaliating if someone insults you; and,
7. Getting upset about losing money.

The Sixth Day,

Yesod [foundation; basis].

Focus on:
1. Calmness, serenity and satisfaction of the soul;
2. Spending some quality time with a loved one or children;
3. Enjoying nature or a tranquil moment;
4. Relaxing with a nice Torah story or Midrash;
5. Saying you are sorry;
6. Listening to others; and,
7. Praying with a minyan [quorum] or saying Tehillim [Psalms].

1. Haughtiness, conceit, and gossiping;
2. Euphemisms, cursing, and dirty jokes;
3. Humiliating others;
4. Slandering others;
5. Criticizing others;
6. Picking a fight; and,
7. Talking during prayers.

The Seventh Day,

Malchut [kingdom; realm].

Focus on:
1. Spiritualism;
2. Complimenting others;
3. Trying to remember that the King of the universe is watching over you;
4. Delving into the secrets of Torah;
5. Keeping Yom Kippur and Shabbat [the Sabbath] holy;
6. Consoling someone who is going through a difficult time; and,
7. Praying for someone else's needs.

1. Materialism;
2. Obsessing about making money;
3. Competition;
4. Using material objects to give you status or honor;
5. Showing off;
6. Getting angry when things break or don't work right;
7. Bragging about yourself or your possessions.

May we all merit to improve ourselves and make the world a better place.

Gemar Chatimah Tovah [May the completion (of these 7 days) be sealed for good],

The Jewlight Staff.

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