Please bring me this day

ב׳׳ה

Please bring me this day

I want to live a moment
when I truly know You,
when all of me swims
in the depths of You,
when I’m no longer reaching
for I’m already held,
Your Love washing over me
’til I’m unable to make sound.

I want to breathe in Your breath
and push when You pull,
to walk in sync with
Your sacred steps,
to know there’s no moment
when We are not One,
when I cannot look and find You.

Please bring me this day, Gd,
as I’m praising Your name
and sanctifying this mortal life,
for in Your Wisdom You placed me
right here inside You
that I might let go of my self,
and thereby become
more able to love others,
who thru You are a part of my Self.

LOVE

ב׳׳ה

LOVE

There were days
I’d wonder why
I had to live, I couldn’t die,
but then came LOVE.

Reborn with wings
with which to fly,
I danced & laughed, gasped & sighed,
for there was LOVE.

I wept with You,
no more words to say,
never thought I’d feel this way,
but there was LOVE.

Surrendered here,
completely Yours,
at peace with You forevermore,
You are this LOVE.

Peniel

ב׳׳ה

Peniel
Dark night of the soul
brings unending struggle
with Gd, self, and man;
Who’ll prevail?
I’d been in that place
for so many years,
I’d become the place of the struggle:
Peniel.
But dawn finally broke,
an angel released me,
I understood how to live:
digging wells.
And though I was limping,
I emerged from the night
ready to Journey at the pace of
my Self.

Encountering WHAT IS

ב׳׳ה

This week’s Torah portion contains the story of Jacob’s Ladder. After reading the text of Genesis 28, my chevrah and I studied a wonderful commentary by Rabbi Aryeh Ben David about Hashem responding “to perhaps the first existential crisis of a Jew” by showing Jacob that he was not, and would never be, alone on his life’s journey. The commentary was from Rabbi Ben David’s book– Around the Shabbat Table (Jason Aronson 2000) –which I highly recommend!

But the verses that have stayed with me over the past two days are the first two of the parsha:

Jacob left from Beer-Sheba and went toward Haran. He encountered the place and stayed the night because the sun had set.

Genesis 28:10-28:11.

As odd as it may seem, Jacob received his revelation of Hashem’s Presence and of the ladder connecting the Divine and material worlds at –literally– “The Place,” an unnamed location where Jacob just happened to be when the sun set. The Place was neither where Jacob had departed (Be’er Sheva), nor was it where he was going (Haran). Jacob, very simply, just was where he was!

And … wherever The Place was, Jacob “encountered” it. Interesting word, encountered, because it implies more than simple physical presence in a location. It suggests an awareness that allows us to meet, or engage with, a situation, place, or person. Thus, it seems, Jacob was not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually present at The Place. His heart and mind were exactly where is body was.

So, all of Jacob was present in The Place… which is not defined as any place in particular … and there, Jacob met Hashem.

For those who have learned about meditation, these details of Jacob’s story sound familiar! The ability to be fully present is what practitioners of meditation are attempting to attain — a state in which the mind is not dwelling in the past or racing into future, but rather the heart and mind are exactly where the body is, so that the entirety of a person can engage with a moment, can encounter every detail of WHAT IS in this moment, in The Place …

And being fully present to where one is at any moment in time, according to Jacob and experienced meditators, is precisely how one finds Holiness … the undefinable, unfathomable, Infinite and Eternal Presence . . . which Jews know as the Tetragrammaton (which we pronounce “Hashem”).

Jacob may not have been his father’s favorite son, but as Isaac was the one who meditated in the field each evening (Genesis 24:63), the first two verses of this parsha have me thinking the two of them might have been closer than we have been led to believe . . . . What do you think??

Happy Thanksgiving and Shabbat Shalom, jen

The Road to Damascus

ב׳׳ה

The Road to Damascus

The Road to Damascus passed my way. The Light was blinding, and I fell down to pray. But the vision I had was different from Saul, as for me there was no voice at all. Instead I could see that we are all Inside, connected by a web from which we can’t hide, and inside this web with me and you, are Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha too. For Gd’s plan is bigger than one religion or people, so when your call comes –be it from minaret or steeple– kneel yourself down and take a few moments to pray, thank Gd for multiple paths to help us find our way, because part of the message to Saul was in the message to me — Don’t persecute others for how they find Thee!

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For those who don’t know the story of Saul, a devout Jew who persecuted early Christians, the text is available here.

May this be a week of peace between religions and peoples, jen

look deep

ב׳׳ה

look deep

I might look like I’m nothing.

But I was created for something.

Won’t you please look deep inside me?

Perhaps there you’ll find

a reason to believe

I’m more than the nothing I seem.

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Friends — Our brains are wired to look at Creation and make judgments about the things we see — Are they dangerous or safe? Are they edible? Are they useful for a task we must complete? — and, evolutionarily speaking, it was good to be able to make such decisions quickly and decisively!

But today, in our modern world, we must be mindful of our brain’s impulse to assign value to creatures based on how they look or where we find them. We ought not “judge every book by its cover” but instead offer ourselves the blessing of learning more about those we encounter.

And, perhaps, if we can all learn to see others as more than the simplistic categories into which our brains instinctively assign them, we can find a way past the anger and divisiveness that plagues our country . . .

Perhaps, then, we can teach all those who would use guns, bombs, and cars as weapons of death that the lives of others are too precious to ever justify such actions . . .

Praying Shabbat brings abundant shalom to all Earth’s inhabitants, jen

for You

ב׳׳ה

for You

Is it reaching for You or

simply stretching myself open —

which is it that brings me Your Love?

For surely You’re here,

even when i can’t feel You,

it’s not as if You ever go away!

It’s only my awareness,

my desire to be an empty vessel,

that allows me to be a Mishkan* for You.

When i dump out my ego,

its desires and defenses,

the shallow trappings of this mortal life,

then suddenly i’m aware

there’s no gap between Us,

You are me and i’m a tiny piece of You.

i can Dance to Life’s Rhythm

and hand out Your Love,

Your Will and mine become one-and-the-same.

What a miracle it is

to exist here within You,

to have the honor of living this life for You!

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*Mishkan is a Hebrew word used in the Torah to indicate the Tabernacle (or portable sanctuary) carried by the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. The Hebrew word Mishkan has the same 3-letter root, Shin-Kaf-Nun, as Shekhinah, the indwelling Divine Presence.

Praying Gd gives each of us the strength to more often “dump out our ego” and become a Mishkan, jen