I can…because You are

ב׳׳ה

 

 
I can . . . because You are
You are everywhere and everything.
I close my eyes, You.
I open my eyes, You.
From One, the many.
In each, the One.
The Journey that started with one has expanded.
I can’t repair all that is broken in this shattered world, but…
I can live with open hands and open heart;
I can be kind to those I encounter;
I can hold my tongue and my urge to judge.
I can act in the likeness of You
everywhere I go and through everything this life throws at me because
You are everywhere and everything.
 
***************************

Dear Friends–
In all honesty, I don’t always (everywhere and through everything) act in the likeness of Gd, whose merciful nature I wish to imitate. Some days I struggle to be compassionate and to withhold judgment — I remain human and I do have many flaws!!
  Nevertheless, I also know that I’ll never reach higher than the goals that I set for myself, so I set my goals high.  And that poem was written in a moment of hope, expressing my faith that I can become a better likeness of Gd than I am today.  

praying Shabbat brings more peace, and holiness, into each of our lives, jen 
 

And, after we dance with tambourines???

ב׳׳ה

 

 
Jewish Tradition commands us each year to celebrate Passover as people who were actually freed from Egypt. It prompts us to look at the world around us and ask such questions as: 

What is my Mitzrayim?
 
To what am I enslaved?
 
What things, people, activities, habits, thoughts, emotions or biases prevent me from accessing my holiest self and offering Gd’s compassion and mercy to myself and to others?

 

And I’ve been thinking . . . if we are to see ourselves as people who actually fled Egypt and crossed the Sea to dance with Miriam and the other women as they played tambourines . . . ought we not take the rest of that Journey from slavery to freedom with the Israelites?  

Why not “walk” the 49 days to stand at that holy mountain, to feel the earth rumble, to see the lightening flash, to hear the Aleph spoken from within the silence, and to experience the awe and wonder of Torah’s revelation??

Of course, we can’t actually put ourselves in the desert thousands of years ago to spend 49 days wandering with the ancient Israelites and learning to have faith in the Holy One.  So, how can we get to that mountain?

Jewish Tradition teaches that we have to prepare ourselves spiritually. We need to spend some time after Passover trying to move ourselves away from the things that enslave us and toward the Holy One of Unity.

Maybe that spiritual preparation happens with a therapist. Maybe it happens in daily meditation or the chanting of prayers. Maybe yoga or exercise is our time to find clarity and reconnect. Maybe we count the Omer each night and engage in a 49-step journey of personal refinement through the emotional attributes of the Sefirot. Maybe we study Moses Cordovero’s ethical treatise on living as a likeness of our Creator, Tomer Devorah (available free from a link here).

The specifics of the process can be particular to each individual, but some process needs to happen if we want to encounter Gd’s presence at Sinai on Shavuot. … Just as Gd didn’t part the Sea until Nachshon, who couldn’t swim and was afraid of the water, was nearly submerged, we can’t expect Gd to give us the gift of revelation if we don’t prepare ourselves by making the journey…

praying our paths reveal blessings and our journeys lead us Home, jen
 
 
 

“Jewish Mystical Practice”

ב׳׳ה

On Wednesday morning of this week, Rabbi Rami Shapiro taught a half-hour session on “Jewish Mystical Practice” at the annual Louisville Festival of Faiths.  Luckily for all of us who couldn’t be there in person, the session was posted to YouTube!!  The session is both educational and practical, explaining the how and why of some morning prayer-songs that can help us reconnect to the One who animates us all.  

Here’s the link to the video:

praying Shabbat brings more shalom to all, jen

Eternal Infinite Hashem

ב׳׳ה

 

 
  Eternal Infinite Hashem
“Have I made a million missteps on my way Home? Or is this the path I was born to roam?” — I wonder as I wander looking for Gd each day without a Guru to show me the way. No example to guide me on this path where I’m Free. No one to answer questions but the voice inside me that whispers of Creation and Love and Light, that begs me to listen, to not struggle or fight for this world unfolds as Hashem wills and at the end of days I’ll be here still, for this soul inside me (a tiny piece of the Whole), it’s impossible to destroy; I’ll just melt back into the One of Love and Light, ineffable “WAS, IS, WILL BE,” who’ll answer questions that might remain until everyone begins calling The Name of the many gods as One — Eternal Infinite Hashem.
 
  **************************
 
The One Eternal and Infinite Gd is known by many names across many religions — Judaism alone has 72!! The name for the Eternal and Infinite Gd that feels most comfortable to me is “Hashem,” which is Hebrew for “the name” and refers to the four-letter Hebrew name of Gd that cannot be pronounced.

Anyone else find that one name of Gd resonates with you better than others? If so, please feel free to leave a comment and tell me a little about the name that feels most comfortable for you!  
       shavua tov, jen
 
 

Olam Ha’ba today

ב׳׳ה

 

 
 
Awareness of Your Love
–like the first morning light–
transforms the world around me.
From dark and isolation,
great fear and sinking unknown,
to a fullness where hope can abound.
It helps me stand up.
It lightens my load.
Makes dreams seem not so far away.
It gives me the courage
to pass on to others
the Love of Olam Ha’ba today.
 
 

Praying Shabbat brings shalom, and greater awareness of Gd’s Abiding Love, to us all, jen

Wisdom from the Desert

ב׳׳ה

 

 

The One we seek…
The longing of our souls…
The destination we fear is unreachable…

If we break the chains of bondage,
wander empty-handed into the desert,
and, trembling in love and awe,
submit to the Infinite-Eternal Unfolding,
we come to understand:

“Heaven” is less than a hair’s breadth away.
 
 
 

Today

ב׳׳ה 

 

 
I woke this morning to gray skies and, as I walked out the door for work, there was a cold drizzle that prompted me to mutter, “blech!”  I turned to lock the door and then saw that the shrub outside my door was flowering.  The little waterlogged flowers brought a smile to my face and reminded me of another quote from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks —
 

There is … no place without a fragment of G-d’s light waiting to be discovered and redeemed; no situation without its possibility of sanctification; no moment without its call.  

 
 
Today, may we hear the Call, sanctify moments, and redeem fragments of Light, jen