Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shalom: Hello, Goodbye, Peace

It has been a long time since I have been active as poet rabbi. It feels a bit like the end of an era! Unfortunately, for a while I was not at my best. Living alone with depression is not an easy task. I have been busy with my children's activities, seeking work and planning my daughter's bat mitzvah, and I haven't been to the barn in a long time.

And then there's the other thing.

I am seeking a connection with God and my peers, in community, that serves not only the disadvantaged, but one another. We all have gifts and talents, but being an easy person is not one of mine. I'm challenging. I always have been, ask my parents! I come with baggage, as well as the experience of divorce, depression, and not many resources. I have been blessed by this community with the opportunity to share some of my gifts, insights, and my words. I will be forever grateful. Now I am seeking different opportunities - to develop friendships and company so I don't have to spend so much time alone when my kids are with their dad. I seek a new romantic life companion, and I seek fulfilling work.

I truly hope there will be other opportunities and pathways to share my gifts. I also hope to find a way to teach writing in a workshop format, as well as engage in paid work that I find fulfilling and financially rewarding.

With all of that said, I find myself feeling out of place at the barn. Not because I haven't been valued or appreciated, but because I personally feel needy. I don't want to be a burden to anyone, and I feel I am at a different stage in life in that I am raising my family in a divided way, on my own, without family support and an extended community. Simply put, I need more friends, and I need to find a few more oddballs like myself.

I wish you all shalom and shalem, and encourage you to say hello whenever you would like to. May we all be blessed on this shared journey.

Much love,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blessing of Esau

Genesis 27: 34 - 41

The pain - of being wrongly passed over, of being conned by politics, by another's deviousness - we have all felt it. And we often feel murderous in the moment, who could blame us? It isn't fair, it isn't nice, it's not what we would do.

Maybe, over time, we see other things. Not always the "silver lining" but the other blessings that come from a life veered off course from what we wanted, or expected, or even knew should happen.

"But when you grow restive
You shall break his yoke from your neck."

We are yoked by bitterness, disappointment, rage, and hurt. But when we take what we have been given, move into the fullness of what is, not what should have been, not what we wish for, we can find freedom.

We breathe in, we breathe out. We look for the blessings given and withheld, and we move further from the youthful life of what was supposed to be, and more deliberately into what is, now, and we can be free.

Even after being yoked, we can be free.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Exodus 25:17-22 Terumah

We Are Always Becoming

Have you ever noticed that once we declare ourselves as X, X starts to shift and change? The edges drift, maybe the job description morphs a little, then a little more, and then all of a sudden X is no longer the definition of what we are any more, but looking back we can see that the new X (or Y if you must) was there all along, it just hadn't expressed itself yet.

We are always many beautiful and contradictory things at once. I am both the really good friend and the selfish person. The giving soul and the needy soul. The wonderful mother and the terrible mother. I'm using extreme judging words because we all do it -- partition off parts of our being into good and bad, thinking if God were to pop in at this moment, how would we be judged? But that's not it.

We are cut from the cloth woven from the strands of all human emotion. Sewn by experience into our own unique garments, moments stitched into our pockets and hems that cannot be undone. This being that is in the center, guarded by the duality of oneness, wrapped in precious metal, carried in whittled wood, held in a tent, surrounded by a courtyard, guarded by a wall, is the precious knowledge that we have to take the whole duality of oneness, the sacredness of vulnerability as the most tender and easily misunderstood gift we have been given.

That our capacity for oneness is honored when we see our capacity to be all dualities, all becomings, in all highly guarded beings. That we are mother/father, brother/sister, lover/friend, son/daughter, wife/husband, pure and flawed ALL the time. And how beautiful it is to be X and Y and Z, you and me, together, stitching time and experience and humanity into dualities and oneness out of one single thread.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Coming to the Promised Land

August 26, 2013
Ki tavo
Deuteronomy 26: 1-3

Come. Bring Yourself. You are here. Settle in. You are the key that fits the lock of your life, the one piece of creation that is yours, and yours to be ours. Claim it. Engage. Ready? Here we go...

I say to your God, this is my piece and I offer it to all of us, to all of Creation, to our ancestors and to those who will come after. This is the land I have been given from which the fruits and gifts, hardships and struggles of my oneness joins yours and resonates through time.

Together we see the faces of God that we see. The fog lifting, the heart opening, an apple when you are hungry, a kind shoulder when you are sad.

Look, next to you, a new land.

The healing we all do is awakening and settling our land.

It's not always easy. The roads of this land are bumpy and twisted. Sometimes there is wreckage, but when we take our place among the many faces of The One, when we stand and claim our own land as sacred, then we bring forth the harvest.

First fruit, new energy. Put it in a basket. Bring it with you wherever you go. Sacred ground is all around us. The faces of YHVH are many.

Settle in. This is your, my, our life. You have the key to let the doors of your life open.

It is amazing, this land.
Your faces are so beautiful.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Balaam Numbers 22: 22-27

Written on 6/22/13

22 And God's anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the LORD placed himself in the way for an adversary against him.— Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.— 23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field; and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a hollow way between the vineyards, a fence being on this side, and a fence on that side. 25 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD, and she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall; and he smote her again. 26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD, and she lay down under Balaam; and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with his staff. (JPS online)


We get so mad when we think we're in control of our path, our fate, our ability to get what we want, and then find out we are not.

We think we can see, then proceed blindly into the narrowing passage, hemmed in on all sides, which is a very cramped and bleak place to be. We like options; we like open spaces; we like what we want to happen to happen.

The idea that a holy man (for aren't each of us holy, in our own time?) cannot see an angel of YHVH, but the ass can -- outrage!

I want what I want, which MUST be what God wants, or if not, I can continue to push on and want it anyway.

Not so.

We can box ourselves in really well when left to our own devices. But the connection, the ass, the narrow place, the anger, the blessing -- they must all find their way through us. We must learn to recognize, and see.

Stuck? Bless me.
Hemmed in? Bless openness.
Lost the connection with the divine, the is-was-and-will-be of our souls?

Stop. Listen. Relax. Let go.
Not in control.
On a talking donkey in a narrow crevice.

We can't get out unless we awaken to our own knowing.
Then we can bless everything, and we can find our way once more.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

4/27/13 Emor

Leviticus 23: 1-8

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: The appointed seasons of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My appointed seasons. 3 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of work; it is a sabbath unto the LORD in all your dwellings. 4 These are the appointed seasons of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed season. 5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk, is the LORD'S passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. 7 In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. 8 And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work.


We forget, but these are the markers, the days, the ways to remember that YHVH is eternal. These are the rituals to step into the eternality of our existence, each one a stepping stone across the huge river of time in which we get swirled and dunked and tossed about.

But come Friday night, come Pesach, come Shavuot, come Sukkot, you can know there will be a stone beneath your feet, a solidness where the eternal divine and the eternal of this world stand together and open to the truth. When we call for blessing, for truth, for openness, for change, there is a response waiting.

So when you falter, find yourself tugged away by rough current, cut up on the rapids, call out for the opening to the truth of the next stone in time, you will find a moment of rest and comfort on solid ground, and we will remember together that we serve all that is connected in love and time. So We breathe collectively in our hope and turmoil before stepping back into the river to see where the water will take us.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Do Not Fear

April 20, 2013
Lev. 19: 9-18

At times like these, it can become very easy to lock ourselves down into protection mode. To say "mine" and "not yours," to pull in all the way to the edges and leave no generosity behind.

It's human nature, it's fear talking, and yet the words, "I am the Lord" remind us -- to breathe deeply, to unclench our fists, to let as much of the anger as we possibly can, go.

I am the Lord. We are One. A reminder to be fair, even when another is not, to be kind even when the other cannot. To give, even when we fear we have nothing left. We try.

Today, we need the reminder. It can be so easy to flip into us/them mentality, but "I am the Lord your God" -- we are all US, we are all THEM. We all crave peace, we all crave fairness, bounty, kindness, and yes, forgiveness. A reminder that we cannot place ourselves above one another, we are all the fabric of the universe, woven together with stardust and imperfection, cruelty and joy.

May we all stand as one, as fairly, as kindly, as gently, and as generously as we possibly can, before the Oneness of all being.