Don’t We Have All of The 7?

July 27th, 2011 by ian

A question that is frequently posed to me:

“Don’t we have all of the seven middot (qualities, skill sets) that you describe, in our personalities?”

The answer is: yes, we do have all of the middot in our being. However, we have some of the middot in our personalities more than others.

We each have all of the middot in that we are all capable of executing acts that are in line with each of the seven types of skill sets. For example, we are all able to paint attractive portraits, which is in line with the tiferet middah, or exercise self-discipline, which is a skill that comes from gevurah abilities that, indeed, are innate in each one of us. As such, we can all be described as possessing any one of the seven middot, as they are explained, based on the words of our Sages, in The Seven Ways.

At the same time, each person has up to three middot in his or her being that make up a more defined part of their temperament. We each have a primary, secondary, and tertiary middah, with each middah being one of the seven middot/sefirot. (These three middot are usually each a different middah, but two or three of them are sometimes the same.) These are the personality-middot that the Seven Ways system is describing.

Your three middot are much more pronounced than the basic seven middot that we all possess. To use an example already mentioned, if someone has the middah of tiferet they will not simply be able to create art, they will have a very pronounced component of their being that shows up palpably in their temperament and will posses an urge to create; they will be skilled in an above-average way in an artistic area and be able, through practice, to become extremely proficient and a high-class talent.

I call the three middot one’s Seven Ways personality, while the other seven middot (that we all posses in small, functional amounts) are components of your general personality. This general personality has in it many more components than the three middot, such as environmental and physiological elements.

Human beings are much more elaborate and deep entities than can be defined by one or even three terms. One’s Seven Ways personality is meant to define for us certain strong elements of our being, showing us who we are and how we should maximize our potential in relationships, self-development, and in our professional lives.

May we all discover and develop our middot and use them in constructive ways to help our families, communities and, consequently, the world.

Rabbi B

One Response to “Don’t We Have All of The 7?”

  1. August 03, 2011 at 2:53 am, ian said:

    About the site, thank you, I worked on the branding and ideas, but the designer at the bottom of the page made the beautiful layout possible,

    I get this question very often.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the book



Leave a Reply