Bridges

ב׳׳ה

There are many truths,
but none of them is Truth,
so the only answer is Love.
We must summon compassion
when we least think we can
and offer it to those
who think that we won’t.
For then bridges are built,
one person to another,
that will carry us all to Heaven.

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praying shabbat brings more shalom to us all, jen

my little ukulele experiment

ב׳׳ה

Yes, that’s a ukulele. 

And, yes, I’m learning to play Jewish songs on it to lead family services and Tot Shabbats.  

And, yes, I’m having more fun than should be possible for someone who tried (very, very unsuccessfully!!) over a number of years to learn to play guitar.  

And, yes, I may fail miserably with this little ukulele experiment, but I’m going to have LOTS of fun trying!!!   

You see, over a decade ago, my Rabbi encouraged me to let go of my need to be perfect and to instead embrace the idea that only through trial-and-error would I begin to test the limits of my potential to “become” as an image of Gd.  It took me way too many years to begin living that philosophy, and now that I am, I can’t wait to see what I find to challenge me next!!    

The immense JOY to be found in every day of this Journey — living as a spirit having human experiences, rather than a human having occasional spiritual experiences — never ceases to amaze me . . . 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
 
 
 

make me a vessel

ב׳׳ה

make me a vessel
shattered apart to be built anew, please make me a vessel who’s worthy of You, who can carry Your Spirit and hand out Your Love, who finds others to help me so we might be enough to counteract all the violence, anger, sadness, and fear swallowing a world too blind to Your Abiding Presence here  
 
 
peace and blessings, jen 

Shedding Our “Skin”

ב׳׳ה

.

When I found “him” . . . 

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Antennae unfolded . . . 


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Here come the long back legs . . . 


.

I have been called to shed a skin many times–to change a perspective, an internal barrier that may once have protected me but now serves as a block to growth. I have been called to peel away a persona that simply does not fit the evolving truth of who I am. I have been called not once or twice, but many times to reconsider what I believe to be true, to strip away assumptions, to form a new skin, born of the raw materials of the old one, but somehow different. I have been called to get out of my way and allow newness and grandeur to emerge.

Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, The Dance of the Dolphin: finding prayer, perspective, and meaning in the stories of our lives, p.88 (Jewish Lights 2001).

This Shabbat, may each of us find the courage to let go of an assumption, to change our perspective, or to reconsider what we believe to be true . . . for though it can be terrifying to shed our “skin,” that shedding is the only way we can free ourselves from the confines of the past and open ourselves to grow into a future in which we are renewed over and over again, in grace and mercy, by the one and only infinite and eternal G-d . . .

May Shabbat bring shalom to all, jen