Dust and Ashes


Dust and Ashes
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!!


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

Perspective . . . 


Three “views” of one moment:





None of them is right or wrong.  All of them contain Truth and offer an opportunity to see holiness unfolding.  It’s just a matter of perspective and focus. 

The same is no less true when we interact with other people.  They are not “standing” where we stand, and their “focus” may not be where ours is.  It doesn’t make their “snapshot” of a moment wrong.  Only different.  

This week, may we be cognizant of our perspectives, and may we have more patience for the perspectives of others.

  shavua tov, jen 

Outside my door


When I stepped out my door this morning, the clouds were amazingly beautiful, traveling in arches across the sky from the sun in the East to an eruption of pink clouds in the West.   I stood for a moment of wonder and awe at the lighting and the color . . . 

And then I saw the Moon, which nearly always dissolves my ego and leaves me standing humbled at my own smallness . . . 

Outside my door . . . a moment of grace to carry me through the day.
Baruch Hashem! 

Wearing King Solomon’s Ring

When my boys returned from vacation a few days after me last week, they brought me the bracelet in the photograph above. It’s made by a company called lokai. Inside the white dot is water from Mount Everest, the highest natural land elevation on Earth; and inside the black dot is mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest natural land elevation on Earth.

The materials that came with the bracelet explain that lokai bracelets are intended to help “find your balance” by reminding:

“Sometimes you’re on top of the world. Stay humble.”


“Sometimes you’ve hit a low. Stay hopeful.”

When my boys told me about the bracelet and as I’ve worn it, I just can’t help but smile a very big smile, because they brought me a bracelet version of King Solomon’s ring!

According to Wikipedia, there are hundreds of versions of a Jewish folktale about King Solomon sending one of his servants on a mission that Solomon thought impossible — to find a ring that can both make a sad man happy and make a happy man sad. While the details of the story vary, the end result is that the servant returns with a ring inscribed: “Gam Zeh Ya’avor,” which means “This too shall pass.” Upon seeing the ring, King Solomon was reminded that his wealth and power would one day end, and he became more humble.

As I wear my new bracelet, I’m reminded not only that I am blessed to have the most awesome kids, who continue to bring me important spiritual lessons, but also that nothing lasts forever, so I’ve got to find my balance!

May each of us find more ways to remind ourselves, as our circumstances continue to change from day to day, to remain hopeful and humble,



I found a few versions of the tale online. The links are below: