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…

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

Dance, Vol. 2

ב׳׳ה

water heater closet & fan under carpet


Yesterday morning I wrote: 

…whatever life throws at you, for the love of Gd, DANCE!!!

So, G-d, the Universe, karma, the Unity, (whatever name you prefer), decided to “test” my resolve to keep dancing!! 

Last night at 9:30, I arrived home to a massive water heater leak and a few hundred square feet of carpet that was so sopping wet that water splashed when I walked across the carpet.   Maintenance arrived at 11:00 pm to deal with the water heater.  A carpet cleaner arrived at 11:30 pm to start removing the water from the carpet.  And now there’s a very large fan blowing air under the carpet and padding, and someone is to install a powerful dehumidifier this morning.  

As you might imagine, I didn’t get much sleep, and I’m pretty tired.  I need to have a productive day at work, go to the grocery, be a mom, and then figure out how many more days it’ll be until the bookshelves (and all the books, toys, and games that lived on them) can return to that wall between the closet and stairs.   

Between being tired and knowing part of my house is in disarray, I’m not feeling especially relaxed.   I’m tense.  And I could focus on that feeling and worry about the carpet and the disorder.  I could let that feeling spiral into a grumpy mood that would result in less than ideal interactions with others, and increased frustration.  

OR 

I can accept that I cannot fix the house or carpet today, because carpet dries when it dries, and I can let go of the worry about if, when, and how I’m going to get my house back in order.  And instead I can focus on NOW —  the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my life is filled with blessings!!!!

I’m tired, but the choice where to focus remains mine .  . . 

Let’s see if I can pass today’s test!!!

My travel song

ב׳׳ה

I’m flying today to play with my kids on the beach for a few days and, while I’m sitting here at the airport, I thought I’d share my travel song with you.  

Judaism has a “Traveler’s Prayer” that asks Gd to guard us from “enemy and ambush, from robbers and wild beasts” so that we might reach our destination in peace. It’s full text can be found here.  

But my personal travel prayer is B’sheim Hashem, which means “In Hashem’s Name,” as sung by Neshama Carlebach. In English, the lyrics are these:

In the name of Hashem,
the Gd of Israel,
may Michael be at my right hand; Gabriel at my left;
before me, Uriel;
behind me, Rapheal;
and above my head the divine presence of Gd.

Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael are angels, and the divine presence of Gd is typically referred to as the Shechina, which comes from a Hebrew word for “dwelling,” because it represents a form of Gd that dwells with us. 

Neshama sings the song in Hebrew, and Hebrew lyrics are these:

B’shaim Hashem,
Elohei Yisreal,
mimini Michael;
umismoli Gavriel;
umilfanai Uriel;
umeachorai Rafael;
v’al roshi Shechinat El.

Now that you know what the song is about, feel free to take a listen to Neshama singing it … Enjoy!  jen 

An evening prayer

ב׳׳ה


An evening prayer

The reddest of suns sets
in a clear blue sky,
drawing my soul toward You,
stopping me from worldly chores
to breathe deeply in this holy moment.
As day turns to night,
Adonai my Gd,
I reach toward You for Grace,
knowing You’re here to comfort me,
wherever life’s journey may lead.
Blessed are You,
Eternal Hashem,
Creator of the evenings
that bring us new days.

.

shavua tov, may it be a good week for all, jen 

please carry me

ב׳׳ה



please carry me

Won’t You please carry me
out past my fear
to where I’m secure in Your Love?
To a place where I know,
as surely as I’m breathing,
my existence alone makes me enough,
that I don’t need to struggle
or feign that I’m more
for those “mores” don’t really matter.
What matters are compassion
and renunciation of pride,
for then can You bless me with Grace.

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shavua tov to 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.