al-Rawdah mosque

ב׳׳ה

al-Rawdah mosque (internet screenshot)

It’s been more than a week and I can’t stop thinking about al-Rawdah mosque in northern Sinai . . .

. . . about the hundreds of Sufi who died when they went to pray.

. . . about the unimaginable grief being experienced by that entire community (where undoubtedly everyone knew someone who died).

. . . about the fact that they were killed because religious extremists labeled them “heretics.”

A heretic is a person who maintains an opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted religious doctrine.

By that definition, I’m a heretic.

I’m a Jewish mystic . . . a Kabbalist, a neo-Hasid . . . who has many opinions at variance with orthodox doctrine . . . but who nonetheless is very attached to Gd and Torah.

And maybe that’s why the deaths of those praying Sufi have stuck with me — because I see myself in them and them in me. They held views different from the fundamentalists who killed them, but they were very attached to Gd and Quran.

A few days ago, after I prayed and thought about those who had died, I wrote this poem about Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, a Sufi Saint who lived more than a thousand years ago and whose writings never fail to open my heart to the Infinite Ocean of Love that is the Gd we share:

Rabi’a and me
Rabi’a al-Adawiyya, they’d allege, was a heretic like me. She a Sufi, me a Kabbalist, a distinction irrelevant to Thee. She’d “burn down Heaven and put out the fires of Hell” for there’s only this moment, so we better live it well. Look past the dogma to see the real Truth. Surrender to the Infinite and therein find proof. Swim in the Love that sets souls free, and share it with others, Rabi’a al-Adawiyya and me.

*********

May we each, in our own ways, find moments of connection with those who may appear different from us, so that speedily and soon our world might know greater peace between all peoples, jen

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.

sacred partnership

ב׳׳ה

sacred partnership

If i know that i’m You

and you know that you’re You,

then we can share a moment as Thee,

and create a new reality

together as One —

sacred partnership requires the presence of Three.

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.

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

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!

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

*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

 My letter to G-d

ב׳׳ה



 
My letter to G-d

The stories I wish to tell,
they’re all about You,
about Wisdom and Love and Light,
about finding the message
hidden within
each chapter of this Journey You write,
this Torah I’m unrolling,
even as it is written,
sacred letters in black upon white,
the Fire that burns, heals, and reveals
profound beauty
was just hidden from sight.  

But how can I express
in words comprehensible
the ineffable I’ve found as Truth?
Like the web that binds us,
one to another,
as tiny little pieces of You.
Or the fact that You speak
— The age of prophecy is not over! —
to those with the faith to submit,
who see the only goal
resides here where we breathe,
Holy Love we can choose to emit. 

G-d, help me find words
to share what I’ve found,
to inspire others that they might believe,
so that they might stop,
if only for a moment,
yet in that moment,
truly perceive
the Unity around us,
the wholeness within us
despite whatever damage life’s wrought,
so they might Dance
with exuberant Joy,
and hand out this Love
greater than any they’d sought.
 
 

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

Shabbat shalom to all, jen