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Reading Kabbalah
Your confusion is understandable, because the term "middot" has different meanings, depending on the context.

1) One meaning of Divine "middot" is the descriptions by which the Hebrew Prophets praised G-d, in the verses of the Hebrew Bible. These are called "G-d's ways," which we should strive to develop in our own behaviors and personalities. These are: "Gracious," "Merciful," "Holy," "Slow to anger," "Abundant in kindness," "Righteous," "Just," "Perfect," "Strong," and the like. By praising G-d with those terms, the Prophets revealed to us that we should try to emulate those positive characteristics. See for example Exodus 14:18, which was spoken by Moses.

2) Another meaning of "middot" is the natural traits of human personality or character. These can be positive (e.g. kindness) or negative (e.g. cruelty). We should strive to develop and strengthen good traits within ourselves, and weaken and eliminate bad traits within ourselves. But if we leave the definitions of "good" and "bad" up to our own human intellect, the results will sooner or later be disastrous. There will be people who act with cruelty, and it will be called kindness, and there will be people who act with kindness, and it will be called cruelty. Therefore, a person needs to align him/herself with the Divine perspective on what is actually good and bad in the realm of human character and behavior. This is the subject of Rambam's "Laws of Personality Development," in which he explains the following ideals:

Chapter 1:
- To follow a "middle path" in our character traits, or with careful self-examination, to lean toward a direction of greater piety
- To emulate "G-d's ways," as explained above

Chapter 2:
- How a person can correct a character trait that has become seriously corrupted. This is by acting in the opposite extreme, until the person trains and refines himself to stay on the "middle path."

Chapter 3:
- To control and properly direct one's desires. In summary, the Jewish Sages directed and said: "And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven." This is what King Solomon declared in his wisdom: "Know Him in all your ways and He will straighten your paths" (Proverbs 3:6).

Chapter 4:
- The importance of maintaining good health. (This consists of Rambam's medical advice circa 1200 C.E., according to the medical knowledge at that time.)

Chapter 5:
- The higher standards of conduct for Torah scholars.

Chapter 6:
- To associate with people who are righteous and wise
- To use a proper and sensitive manner of correcting one's colleague
- Not to embarrass others, and not to oppress the unfortunate

Chapter 7:
- Not to gossip, not to take vengeance, not to bear a grudge.

3) A Kabbalistic use of the term "middot" refers to the "13 Attributes of Mercy," contained in the verses Exodus 34:6,7 which were spoken by G-d:
"L-rd, L-rd, benevolent G-d, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness and truth; He preserves kindness for two thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and He cleanses."

Kabbalistically, these attributes refer to 13 conduits of G-dliness in the supernal realm of Keter ("Crown"), that transcends all of the created spiritual worlds.

4) When your Rabbi said that G-d has 10 "middot," he was referring to the 10 emanations of G-dly of attributes (Sefirot), which are the spiritual "building blocks" of everything that G-d created, and through which He interacts with the creation. These are discussed on our web page

- Wisdom [ = Chokhmah]
- Understanding [ = Binah]
- Lovingkindness [ = Hesed]
- Strength/Judgement/Restraint [ = Gevurah]
- Beauty/Mercy [ = Tiferes]
- Eternity/Victory [ = Netzakh]
- Splendor/Humility [ = Hod]
- Foundation/Connection [ = Yesod]
- Sovereignty [ = Malkhus]

Messages In This Thread
Reading Kabbalah - by James7 - 06-12-2007, 01:14 AM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by ahivarn - 11-22-2009, 12:59 AM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by Director Michael - 11-24-2009, 09:09 PM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by bdschuh - 11-29-2009, 05:31 AM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by Director Michael - 11-29-2009, 04:34 PM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by Hrvatski Noahid - 10-11-2010, 07:10 PM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by Director Michael - 10-17-2010, 10:03 PM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by Hrvatski Noahid - 10-19-2010, 03:54 AM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by Director Michael - 10-24-2010, 03:56 PM
RE: Reading Kabbalah - by OlKorekt - 08-31-2019, 03:54 PM
RE: Noahide Torah Study - by Randy - 07-10-2007, 08:25 AM
RE: Noahide Torah Study - by Director Michael - 07-10-2007, 01:09 PM
Noahides and Kabbalah - by sodergard - 11-01-2009, 05:14 AM
RE: Noahides and Kabbalah - by Director Michael - 11-10-2009, 07:50 PM

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