Dance

ב׳׳ה


Dance
May we, might we, shall we dance? For I think Hashem’s playing our tune, the one that can carry us o’er clouds to the garden above, where all the world’s awash in Hashem’s Love, where we can dance and frolic, laugh and play, where even two seconds feel like a full day, for there is Eternity in the palm of our hand. So turn on some techno, find a Na Nach van; let go of the clutter and set your mind free; experience Joy today for tomorrow might not be. It might sound crazy, but give it a chance — whatever life throws at you, for the love of Gd, DANCE!!!

How old am I?? 

ב׳׳ה


This week we return in the Torah to “my portion” — B’har/B’chukotai — the portion of my conversion to Judaism and of my bat mitzvah.  It’s been 12 years since my conversion and 9 years since my bat mitzvah.   Each of those events feels simultaneously like they happened yesterday and a hundred years ago. 

May is also the month of my physical birth — 47 years ago, which I find really hard to believe because I remain a total kid at heart.  I find great joy in playing with my sons, whether building Legos, playing video games, racing cars, jumping on trampolines, or battling with Nerf guns.   

In a video I posted here a few weeks ago, Rabbi Rami Shapiro reminded his audience that whatever we think our age is, we have to add at least 13.8 BILLION years to it, because the pure soul that we were given is a piece of Hashem and has existed at least since The Big Bang.  

And, yet, each day, as we say in the morning prayer Yotzer Or, Gd renews Creation . . . including each of us!!   Because of this, Rabbi Nachman taught we need to take full advantage of each day for the unique opportunities that it offers. Who knows how we might be different today from yesterday, what  new talent or skill or interest we might find within ourselves . . . and maybe that also means that this version of me is here only today, so today, and every day, is Day 1 of an amazingly miraculous adventure!! 

I don’t know what number best describes my age, but I know I’m going to keep embracing each day and the opportunities Hashem gives me to live, to laugh, and to love.  And I pray you’ll do the same.  

Shabbat shalom to all — may you feel young and excited to be alive!!  jen

White Fire

ב׳׳ה


White Fire
The White Fire of Hashem holds many secrets sublime, connections and mysteries that remain true for all time. Standing in that Fire is an experience to be shared, but no words can truly capture the wisdom held there. The passion and promise of unbounded Love; the Joy and Peace are so much more than enough to bind us to the beauty and grandeur of Life, to strengthen our resolve to build peace and not strife. We emerge from the Fire being less, and yet more, forged to handle tasks Hashem has in store.

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