Let My People Know

"There are people for whom restrictions are not necessary; they have to be free to expand in all directions"

The genuine alternative to the Chesed of Abraham is Gevurah, the aspect of Isaac. 

Rather than being outgoing and joyous, a matter largely of the heart, the aspect of Isaac, or Gevurah, is withdrawal inward, a concentration of strength and a sense of awe.

It is connected with control and restriction, with the setting of specific limits and clear definitions. With Abraham, in contrast, there are hardly any limitations.

All is open, free, and inviting, in relation to things, to people, and to God.

Isaac, while establishing frontiers and feeling confident enough to judge the world, at the same time has the great-heartedness and the need for the expression of love. 

This expression, however, takes the form of another kind of nullification, a kind of retirement, if not actual seclusion, a fear of wrong action, a dread of doing something that may cause harm to someone else.

These two Attributes exist in varying degrees in people, and they cannot be contrasted as good and evil. 

For example: A pupil was asked why he prayed so fast. 

He answered that the prayer was so pleasant and sweet to him that he grabbed as much as he could. 

The rabbi said: Do you think that for me prayer is not pleasant? (The rabbi was known to spend more time in prayer than was usual.) 

The pupil replied that the rabbi's prayer is like burning coals, and such are not to be swallowed speedily. 

In other words, the matter can be viewed from different angles. 

There are people for whom restrictions are not necessary; they have to be free to expand in all directions. 

But there are also those who require clearly defined controls. 

As the Rabbi of Kuritz, a great exponent of truth, once said: 

The difference between that fellow and myself is that he so much loves the truth that he speaks it constantly and sometimes a trifling untruth enters, whereas I so dread a lie that I hardly speak at all in order to avoid letting an untruth be uttered.

A similar relation may be said to prevail between Gevurah and Chesed. 

The attitude of fear of evil in the former restrains one's expression, makes one practice control and seek perfection in word and deed. 

The attitude of benevolence and fullness in the latter may induce spontaneity and joy.
They are not contradictory; they are different aspects of Divine plenty and belong to different kinds of personality. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From In the Beginning by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz