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)

***************************

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. 

***************************

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

even in the midst of our storms

ב׳׳ה


This morning, after the rain had started but a few minutes before the lightning and downpour began, the morning sun peeked out between the trees and the clouds for about one minute to produce a beautiful rainbow in the rain approaching from the west.  

Seeing it, I was reminded that Gd’s presence is with us, even in the midst of our storms… but we must remember to be looking, for Gd’s presence often appears in a quiet, subtle way that is easily missed by those who are too busy to stop and breathe in a moment.   

Praying we all find Gd’s presence with us on our good days and our bad days, jen

HaMakom (“the place”)

ב׳׳ה



HaMakom
(“The Place”)

How can I express
what it is to experience
floating in “The Place” with no words,
where all discord harmonizes
into one perfect Unity and
The Mystery calls me its own Name?

To be in HaMakom
where there is only breathing
(and the One breathing is not mortal-me)
is to be transported
beyond time and space,
to where souls once were and will be.

There’s no need for signposts.
Past and future irrelevant,
transfixed in the Eternity of Now.
No directions to wander
when diffused through Infinity.
Nor feet that could touch solid ground.

There I’m forever,
no beginning or ending,
Eternal-Infinite breathing The Name.
I return awestruck and giddy,
with joy and peace overflowing,
mortal-me again forever changed.
 
 

***********************

 

HaMakom
is Hebrew and literally means “the place.”  However, it is also a name for Gd.  And, as there is no place without Gd, any place can be The Place, if we are willing to open our hearts so that our eyes might see and our ears might hear. 

shavua tov, jen

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 

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.

**************

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.