We always hear about din vs. rachamim, which got me thinking: If rachamim is made up of chesed and gevurah, then what are the components of din?

I find it interesting or else inexplicable that the opposite of din would already be half composed of something very much like din, namely gevurah. (I know all the sefirot include each other, but this goes further.)

This random kabbalah page says that tiferes is supposed to "lean" a little bit toward chesed. If so, I could see din as being the counterpart that "leans" a little more toward gevurah. But I don't even know if the premise is true. So what is din, actually?

  • 2
    I though din = gevurah – Joel K Aug 10 '18 at 9:17
  • 1
    @JoelK Me too, pretty much – SAH Aug 10 '18 at 9:17
  • 1
    Yup sounds right – David Kenner Aug 10 '18 at 9:18
  • 1. What's "rachmones" - did you mean Rachamim? – Al Berko Aug 10 '18 at 9:54
  • 2
    I think your question is too broad - "explain to me the Kabbalic concept of Din". Google it, Otzar it and then if you don't understand something - come and ask – Al Berko Aug 10 '18 at 10:02

I will provide sources to show this later, but Din (דין) is the connection and transmission of intellect (מוחין) to the physical, material world.

This is expressed as the connection of Tiferet via Netzach, Hod and Yesod. ד׳י from דין is 14, an allusion to the 13 Tikunnei Dikna with the kollel. Think of וא׳ו, the miluy of Vav which alludes to Tiferet and also to the 13 Tikkunei Dikna, with the kollel is 14, ד׳י.

The Nun Sofit (ן) is Yesod d’Aba. This is in contrast to Yesod d’Nukva which is characterized by the Nun Kafufah (נ).

Din Kashe (harsh judgement) is the aspect of Leah, Mochin d’Nukva (63, ס׳ג) with the kollel (64), which is gematria Din (די׳ן).

Din Rafah (soft judgement) is the aspect of Rachel, אדנ׳י (Gematria 65, G-d's name relating to Malchut, meaning effect and expression in the physical, material world) less the Aleph, which is also Din (די׳ן).

As to the contrast of effect between Din (Din Kasheh) and Rachamim (Din Rafeh), think of the allegory of making dough and baking bread.

The effect of the leavening (שאר, which causes a decaying or fermentation effect to the flour, the concept of Gevurah and Din which also relates to the kabbalistic concept of Harisa or Haras [הריסה, הרס]) when left too long is that it sours the dough and spoils the loaf (like the example of Leah, Sag and Din Kasheh above).

The Soft Judgement, which is the aspect of Rachel, results in a beautiful and delicious loaf (like 1 held back from אדני is די׳ן, Din Rafeh.


This how I understand your question, please correct me if I'm wrong: You see some sources that pair Hesed and Din as opposing counterparts, and also speak of their synthesis being Rahamim. Then, elsewhere, you see sources that pair Rahamim and Din as opposing counterparts. So, you're wondering how to fit these together these two usages of Rahamim, a usage as a synthesis, and a usage as one of two opposing counterparts requiring synthesis.

If that's the question, then I think a starting point is to point out that the usages have different literary contexts: the first is Kabbalistic and the second is Talmudic.

In Kabbalistic terminology, Din and Gevurah are synonyms, and represent something which is the opposing counterpart of Hesed. And the synthesis of Din and Hesed is Rahamim.

In the terminology of the Aggaddetah of the Talmud, it is Rahamim that is often paired with Din as its opposing counterpart, as in mentions of Middat Ha-Din and Middat Ha-Rahamim. In this set of terms, Rahamim is not the synthesis. For example, in Rashi on Bereishit 1:1- בתחלה עלה במחשבה לבראתו במדת הדין, ראה שאין העולם מתקיים, הקדים מדת רחמים ושתפה למדת הדין - There is a synthesis, but it has no name here.


The Lubavitcher Rebbe said,

Tiferes is the balance of Chesed and Gevurah.

Chesed = Giving

Gevurah = Midas HaDin (Judgment)

Tiferes = Mercy

Says Chesed: Give !

Says Gevurah: But this person does not deserve it!

Tiferes makes peace between Chesed and Gevurah:

"You are correct Mr. Gevurah, that this one simply doesn't deserve it. But, we will give anyway, not out of deserved Chesed, but out of Rachmones (Mercy)."

Now both are satisfied and at peace.

  • I would argue that this is a simplification but ok. Also the Lubavitcher rebbe didn't come up with this idea it comes from way earlier Kabbalists – mroll Aug 10 '18 at 14:50

From today's Tanya:

ואזי המדות נגדיות של מיכאל וגבריאל נכללות במקורן ושרשן

And then, when G‑d’s infinite light is revealed within the attributes, the opposing attributes of Michael and Gabriel (Chesed and Gevurah) are absorbed in their source and root,

והיו לאחדים ממש

and they become truly unified,

ובטלים באורו יתברך, המאיר להם בבחינת גילוי

and are nullified in His light, which radiates to them in a manifest way.

ואזי מתמזגות ומתמתקות הגבורות בחסדים

The Gevurot are thereby tempered and mellowed (lit., “sweetened”) in the Chassadim, and are transformed into good and kindness,

על ידי בחינה ממוצעת, קו המכריע ומטה כלפי חסד

by a mediary, the determining factor between Chesed and Gevurah, which leans towards Chesed,

היא מדת הרחמים

i.e., the attribute of Rachamim (“mercy”).

When Chesed does not insist (so to speak) on an unlimited revelation of kindness (but is satisfied to reveal the G‑dly illumination in a finite manner), and Gevurah insists only on witholding the revelation from those who are unworthy of receiving it (but does not insist on blocking the revelation altogether, even from the worthy — then the mediating attribute of mercy, which leans toward kindness, declares that while a particular recipient may not be strictly worthy of the kindness to be shown, he is at least worthy of being granted it out of compassion.

הנקראת בשם תפארת, בדברי חכמי האמת

This attribute of Rachamim is called Tiferet (“beauty”) in the terminology of the Kabbalists (lit., “the scholars of truth”),

לפי שהיא כלולה מב׳ גוונין, לובן ואודם

because it is made up of the two colors white and red,

המרמזים לחסד וגבורה

which allude to Chesed and Gevurah, respectively.

Rachamim is therefore called Tiferet, because there is beauty in the harmony of diverse colors.

I find this confusing, possibly because of a mistranslation -- should not "הנקראת בשם תפארת" be translated as "the attribute of rachamim has the name tiferes"? This translation suggests that rachamim may have two attributes, one tilted toward chesed and the other tilted toward gevurah, whereas I believe the original ought to suggest rachamim itself is the attribute--presumably of din--that is tilted toward chesed.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .