This time of year, we should be focusing on the quality of Netzah, or persistence. Netzah gives us the consistency and determination to be kind and compassionate even when we’re not in the mood. It gives all of our other emotions a stability and reliability which becomes the foundation for action. Emotions like love, hate, and compassion are full of excitement – they are high energy emotions which don’t always translate into action. Netzah is kindness, or love, applied to behavior.
To go from the cerebral to the emotional, you must get past certain limitations. How do you translate what you know into what you feel? The ideas in your head have to reach your heart, but the narrowness of the neck is a bottleneck. What you know in your mind has to be so vivid and so clear and so convincing that even the heart can’t ignore it. Also, the heart has to be responsive and sensitive to what the brain is saying – if it’s callous or jaded then your mind can’t move or inspire your heart.
How do you go from knowing something’s right to loving it? How do you know from knowing that something’s bad to hating it? If we successfully do that and we have inspired feelings – we love and judge and have compassion properly – we encounter another bottleneck. How do you go from emotion to performance? Netzah gives us the ability to translate a feeling into a doing, or at least into a speaking. Netzah takes an emotion to a behavior.
When we ask God for blessings, we’re not asking him to love us – we assume he already loves us, knows our problems and our pain, and cares for us. The need for prayer is to create a channel between God’s emotion and performance. God loves us but that has to be translated into God’s doing something, acting on his love. Prayer is to facilitate to smooth the path that goes from emotion to doing, to performing. Meaning well and having good intentions is beautiful, but it doesn’t compare to doing well. Having a good intention to follow mitzvot or be a righteous person without translating that intention into action only counts in our relationship with God if you truly weren’t able to act due to circumstances beyond your control. If your intentions are truly sincere, God will make it possible for you to act. God connects your feelings to actions not by simply making believe that you did it, he connects the action by making the action possible- he brings you to a place where you can do what you intend to do.