Shema Yisrael!

ב׳׳ה


This week’s Torah portion contains the central declaration of the Jewish faith —

Shema Yisrael: Hashem Eloheinu, Hashem echad. 

Hear O Israel: Hashem is our Gd, Hashem is one.  

Over the centuries, commentators have found multiple ways to interpret that declaration.   The command to hear could be to the entire community collectively or to individuals.    One could mean “our Gd is unique among the gods that are worshipped” or “there is only one Gd in all of creation.” 

Yet perhaps the most interesting word in the Shema is Eloheinu, which is translated “our Gd,” but is derived from eloheim — a plural noun meaning gods, such that the Shema could be interpreted to mean “Hashem is all our gods and is one.”  

And at this time in the history of human civilization, that seems to be an important lesson that humanity needs — whatever names we call, whatever language we speak, whatever our religious rituals… whether as individuals we most easily connect to The Sacred through music, art, prayer, study, acts of kindness, the beauty of nature, or relationship with others… we are all reaching for, and hopefully connecting with, the singular Unity that is the One mighty and awesome Gd of creation!

This weekend, through all of our experiences, in every moment, may we allow ourselves to connect to the One who hides behind the many.
Shabbat shalom, jen 

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!!!

And the message is??? 

ב׳׳ה


 

I took that picture last weekend in Florida, and I’ve been drawn back to it nearly every day this week, almost as if I’m waiting for it to tell me… something…

But every day that I look, the picture seems to bring me a slightly different message about Life — about the cycle of life and death, about the interconnection of all existence, about finite matter “standing” at the edge of infinity and eternity, about the holiness and beauty inherent in moments of transition… 

So I decided that, this Shabbat, instead of telling you what I see, I’d post the picture and invite all of you to tell me what you see in it.   I’d love to hear what messages you see — please leave a comment and let me know!!   🙂  Thanks!

Praying Shabbat brings more shalom to all, jen 

Perspective . . . 

ב׳׳ה

Three “views” of one moment:

1.

2.


3.


.

None of them is right or wrong.  All of them contain Truth and offer an opportunity to see holiness unfolding.  It’s just a matter of perspective and focus. 

The same is no less true when we interact with other people.  They are not “standing” where we stand, and their “focus” may not be where ours is.  It doesn’t make their “snapshot” of a moment wrong.  Only different.  

This week, may we be cognizant of our perspectives, and may we have more patience for the perspectives of others.

  shavua tov, jen 

Street signs and Life

ב׳׳ה


Did you ever arrive at one of those places in life where you were certain your path was to the right, but other “signs” in your life kept telling you that turning right wasn’t currently an option?   

I’ve been in that place before, figuratively (and literally when I took the picture above on Tuesday evening).   Being in that place is frustrating because it leaves us uncertain which way to go!!

Tuesday night when the light turned green, I drove forward.  And, it seems to me, that’s also the only choice we have when we are in that place figuratively — we have to keep moving forward:  learning, growing, being compassionate, fostering peace where there is discord, and building order from life’s chaos.  

But not tonight, for tonight is Shabbat.   And although the world might want us to live as if “the light” is always green and we should always be going . . . we were commanded to stop, to breathe, to BE . . . to appreciate what we have already accomplished, the blessings we have been given, and the people we have in our daily lives who provide us love and support.  

Praying Shabbat brings us all more shalom, jen 

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