Or Hatzadik 


Or Hatzadik means “The Light of the Righteous” and . . . it feels like an appropriate day to share a song that I’ve appreciated for a number of years — Or Hatzadik by Yosef Karduner.   

Praying righteous people of every race, nation, and religion shine Light that will help us all find our way to lasting peace and prosperity that can be shared by all people, jen 

in my heart cave



“St. Francis in Meditation” — Workshop of Francisco de Zurbaran (Spanish, 1598-1664), on display at Indianapolis Museum of Art



(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

G-d’s Light




Once, as I sat in the darkness and silence of meditation, my mind’s eye opened like the swinging of a heavy wooden door, and I saw before me brilliantly blinding white light. Then, replacing the white light, I saw — in slow succession, as if the pictures were slid before me, one after another — three scenes of the most breath-taking, vivid colors: green leaves and grass, then purple flowers, then orange foliage. After the breath-taking colors, I experienced an immense sense of openness, of peace, of calm, of unity, of freedom, and of great awe. The beauty of the moment was so overwhelming that I began to cry.

About ten minutes after meditating, I realized that the three breath-taking images were secondary colors (green, purple, and orange) — which are not only created by combining other colors but are distinctly beautiful individual images created from white light — and only by seeing each of them as uniquely beautiful did I “pass” to a place of great awe.

In that moment, I understood that seeing true beauty occurs only when we respect our differences. I need not become less me, and you need not become less you, but we each must be permitted to stand in our truths and respectfully share ourselves with others. Each of us must allow (and be permitted by others to allow!) the White Light of G-d to pass through our souls and create whatever breath-taking color G-d created us to display. And each of us must come to see the beauty in the color of Light that comes from every other person!

Then, when any two of us stand together, each shining and respectfully allowing the other to shine, others around will see, in the combination of Lights, a new beautifully-vivid color that those two Lights create together.

And, if enough of us stand together, shining our true colors, our Lights will combine to create the White Light of Unity. As communities, we become capable of shining G-d’s White Light into this material world!!

. . . but, first, we must learn to see G-d’s Light shining in others . . . and we must recognize that every other person’s Light simultaneously is no less, and yet no more, important than our own light, so that we will not be afraid to let others shine . . .

Praying each of us learns a little better each day to see G-d’s Light in others and to encourage others to shine, jen

“. . . just a hallucination?”

A couple of weeks ago during lunch with a friend, as we talked about our journeys, she asked me what the experience of meditation was like for me. I explained that some days I am so distracted by concerns about family and friends that I spend most of the time processing problems and trying to clear my mind of life’s distractions. But then other days, when I am more at peace, my mind is clear, and I experience myself filling up with so much love and light that my chest might explode and I feel like I surely must be hovering above the ground where I had been sitting.

Much to my surprise, she quietly asked, “Do you think it’s just a hallucination?”

There was no judgment in her tone, but I looked at her for a long moment as I put aside my fear and tried to assess whether she was looking for a particular answer. Then, speaking from my heart, I gave her the only answer that I have:

“I don’t honestly know . . . .  But I don’t think it matters, because every time I have that experience, I walk away from it being more certain that all of us [gesturing at all the people around the restaurant] are essentially the same.”

By this time, I was crying, and my friend put her hand on my arm as I continued:

“It’s true that we’ve all had different life experiences, but . . . in our hearts, we are the same. We all just want safety and adequate resources for ourselves and those we love, to raise our children in peace, and we want to know that our lives have meaning . . . real meaning that makes it worth experiencing all the crap that we experience as we just try to live our lives.”

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe other people really do want something besides just security and meaning.

But that’s what I find in the silence of meditation . . . this idea that if we could live in a place where everyone believed every person’s life has meaning and where every person took seriously the obligation to respect every other person’s need to have security and adequate resources to live simply, but comfortably . . . that would be the messianic era . . . “Heaven on Earth” . . . we could beat our swords into plowshares because there would be no war, and there would be no starvation because we would share whatever resources exist . . . it seems so simple and so beautiful . . .

The Love and Light that fill me up . . . maybe those are just a hallucination . . .

But the world I can imagine, where I live with security (but without material excesses), while surrounded by others who do not doubt that our lives have great meaning . . . that is not a hallucination . . . that’s what my soul needs, and I’m going to find a way to make it reality on whatever scale G-d Wills . . .

shavua tov, jen