Or Hatzadik 

ב׳׳ה


 
Or Hatzadik means “The Light of the Righteous” and . . . it feels like an appropriate day to share a song that I’ve appreciated for a number of years — Or Hatzadik by Yosef Karduner.   

Praying righteous people of every race, nation, and religion shine Light that will help us all find our way to lasting peace and prosperity that can be shared by all people, jen 
 

Love that binds

ב׳׳ה


 
There is a Love that binds
me to You.
And in the Joy of this rapture,
in my submission complete,
I want only to be more tightly bound.
I want to sway in Your arms,
to bend to Your Will,
to rest secure in this unending Love.
I’ve no wish to flee
or chase material desires.
I can’t pretend that “rational = True.”
So I’ll study these texts
and complete tasks as assigned,
inside this Love that binds me to You.  
 
 
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This Shabbat, may we all have moments when we are acutely aware of our connection to Gd, and may that awareness help us rest secure in Gd’s unending Love, so that we might offer compassion and peace to others.  
Shabbat shalom to all, jen

The Reminder

ב׳׳ה

There’s a man in my synagogue, a doctor, who’s of an age that makes it seem unlikely he’d have a tattoo.  But he has one.

It’s on his wrist, his left wrist, actually.   The location reminds me of tefillin, wrapped on the left arm to be closer to the heart.

The tattoo is of the Hebrew pictured above.  It’s pronounced “He-nei-ni” — which means “Here I am.”

“Heneini” was Abraham’s response when Gd called his name, Genesis 22:1, and then Gd tested Abraham by instructing him to sacrifice his son.

“Heneini” was Moses’s response when Gd called to him from the burning bush, Exodus 3:4, and then Gd sent Moses to free the Israelites from Egypt.

Thus, while Heneini might literally mean “Here I am,” it also seems to be the response of someone ready to do Gd’s Will, even at great personal expense.

One of these days, I hope to know the doctor well enough to talk to him about his tattoo.

For now, I’m just inspired by the fact that he carries this reminder with him in a location that is always visible to him.

His tattoo makes me wonder whether we all shouldn’t have such a reminder — not a tattoo necessarily, but something — to remind us to be listening for The Call and to be ready to do Gd’s Will…

A Beautiful Shabbat!

ב׳׳ה


This has been the best Shabbat!!   

My boys and I spent about six hours playing in our neighborhood swimming pool, and this morning I spent a few hours coordinating a synagogue program for families with young children — and those happen to be two of my very favorite activities!!  It’s been a Shabbat full of joy, love, and spirituality, and has reminded me how very good life can be.  I hope all of you had a great day too!!!

shavua tov, jen 

“Prayerless Prayer”

ב׳׳ה

The other day, when I read “Prayerless prayer,” a post by Didi, I was reminded of a saying attributed to Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vorki (1819-1868), who practiced silence and didn’t always answer questions. When he was asked how “true Jews” should behave or could be recognized, Rabbi Menachem Mendel replied: “upright kneeling, silent screaming, motionless dance.”

“Upright kneeling” reminds us that, wherever we are standing and whatever we are doing, we remain in the presence of Gd, and therefore our hearts should be kneeling humbly before our Creator.

“Silent screaming” reminds us that we need not scream aloud for Gd to hear our cries in the face of injustice or agony, because Gd hears our crying, and can bring us comfort, even when we make no sound. All we need do is think the thoughts, and Gd has heard them!

Finally, “motionless dance” is the idea that life is meant to be celebrated, and we should be grateful, happy, and enjoying the goodness that continues to exist, even when life’s details aren’t perfect. So although our bodies may be still, our hearts constantly should be dancing in celebration of our presence in the miracle that is Creation.

Like Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vorki, Didi juxtaposes an act and its opposite to remind us where the spiritual path can lead us — to a place where our every action is a offering to The One, before whom our hearts are kneeled, as we silently celebrate the mystery and grandeur of our Gd.

Please take a look at Didi’s post.

This Shabbat, may Didi and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vorki inspire us to new depths of service to The One.

Shabbat shalom to all, jen

in my heart cave

ב׳׳ה

 

“St. Francis in Meditation” — Workshop of Francisco de Zurbaran (Spanish, 1598-1664), on display at Indianapolis Museum of Art



 


IN MY HEART CAVE

(a reflection on Psalm 23)

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I have moments when I am afraid, when The Valley feels deep and Death’s Shadow looks long.

But always, in my heart cave, is You.

So I train myself to take refuge in my heart cave, where Your Light always shines, for there:
— I am never alone
— I am Loved (even when I fail)
— I am at peace
— I have faith
— I feel joy

And then, back in this material world, I need not be afraid. 

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This week, whatever life brings, may we fear no evil, and may we be blessed with goodness and mercy.  
shavua tov to all, jen

Dust and Ashes

ב׳׳ה

Dust and Ashes
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I’m just dust and ashes, but this world WAS made for me! When my fear is out of the way, I’m able to see the pattern in the process, the rhythm of the rhyme, Hashem bringing what I need when it’s truly time for me to grow or to “shed another skin,” so I’ll keep “digging this well,” until this body’s just dust again!!
 

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Rabbi Simcha taught we should keep a strip of paper in each pocket of our pants — one to remind us (when we feel arrogant) that we are just dust and ashes, and the other to remind us (when we feel down) that the world was created just for us.  

This Shabbat, let’s imagine holding both of those strips of paper at once. Let’s each remain certain that we are only dust and ashes, while also having no doubt that we have a unique, infinitely important role to play in the miracle that is Creation’s unfolding… for there, balancing both, is where we can find holiness.  

shabbat shalom to all, jen