Watching the Storm

ב׳׳ה

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Facing east-southeast, sun at my back, as storm moved in from the south, 5:50 pm.

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Flock of birds racing toward clear sky, from darkness to light


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I arrived early at synagogue last night and was blessed with some time to watch a storm roll in from the south.  The mountain of white clouds looked so brilliant in the late afternoon sun that it’s beauty could distract an onlooker from the storm raging at her belly . . .until the thunder and lightning made themselves known!   

Watching the storm was a nice way to prepare myself for Shabbat service.  The size and power of the storm reminded me how small and fragile my little human existence really is in comparison to the storm, to the earth, and to this infinite universe in which we live.  And the storm’s slow progress northward reminded me to slow down, to breathe, to be present to the subtle changes happening — to the wind, the temperature, the pressure, the humidity, the lighting, etc. — all around me.    

Having been humbled and grounded in the present, I was ready to approach Gd . . . 

Shabbat shalom, jen 

This Light

ב׳׳ה


Standing in Gd’s Grace,
not knowing how to be
a Light unto all others
so they might also see
the immediacy of Eternity
when your only Master is Gd’s Will
and the grandeur of your own Infinity
if humbled, your mind is still.

I’d like to show another
how it feels to live this free;
How do I learn to pass it on,
this Light a Rabbi showed to me?

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praying Shabbat brings Shalom to all, jen

lives well lived

ב׳׳ה



Millions of shells strewn along the sand,

remnants of lives well-lived,

fulfilling the purpose for which they were created,

without doubting the skills they were given…
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This Shabbat, may more of us know and, without doubting, live our purpose, jen

beneath the surface of the obvious 

ב׳׳ה


“Mystical doctrine claims that we can experience the Infinite right now, that beneath the surface of the obvious, there exists Divinity.”

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Gate to the Heart: A Manual of Contemplative Jewish Practice, p. 6, Albion Andalus, Boulder, Co. (2013).

Me’chayeih ha-meitim

ב׳׳ה

Me’chayeih ha-meitim

Up on a mountain that was somehow down inside me. Years of climbing that had felt like digging, trying to set my soul free. And suddenly there I stood, face to face with my Gd.

Able to ask the hard questions, dump my anger and grief, but all I could find were joy and relief.  So I spilled out my gratitude, wept as I drown in The Love, finally sensing the Forever that would be enough, righting Creation’s wrongs and setting me free of the demons ’round that mountain and down inside me.

Baruch Atah Adonai,
Me’chayeih ha-meitim.

Me’chayeih ha-meitim is Hebrew for “who makes alive the dead.” Traditionally, the phrase was said multiple times a day as part of The Amidah, or Standing Prayer.

With the advent of Reform Judaism, the phrase was changed to eliminate the reference to resurrection of the dead, so the prayer became instead “Me’chayeih ha-col,” “who gives life to everything.”

Interestingly, however, according to scholars, given the time the prayer originated, me’chayeih ha-meitim may not have been intended to refer to literal resurrection of people who were truly dead. For example:
(1) In the Ancient Near East, Sumerians used the same phrase to praise their deity after a gravely ill person had been restored to health,
and
(2) The Talmud instructs us to thank Gd for “reviving the dead” when we see someone for the first time in over a year.

The prayer that I shared above was written as an expression of this expanded, figurative meaning of “giving life to the dead,” as Gd’s Love can revive our withered souls, bringing us from the darkness of spiritual exile into the light of redemption.

may Shabbat bring more shalom to all, jen

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Appendix
If anyone is interested in learning more about The Amidah, I recommend My People’s Prayer Book, Vol. 2: The Amidah. Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Ph.D. (Jewish Lights Publishing, 1998).