Friday, September 30, 2011

Shabbat Shuvah

A teaching from Rabbi Alan Lew, Z'el:
Shabbat Shuvah:  For ten days, the gates of teshuvah are open and the world is fluid.  We are finally awake, if only in fits and starts.  For ten days transformation is within our grasp. This is not a linear process, not something that takes a clear nor even discernible path.  But the gates are in fact open, and if our intention is aligned with this spiritual reality, then transformation also opens as a real possibility, even if it doesn't manifest itself right away.  

Source: Lew, Alan. This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation, 2003

Friday, September 23, 2011


Selihot:  As Selihot and Rosh Hashannah draw near, we remember that the month of Elul is the month of Teshuvah (return).  The first letters of the words, Ani Le-dodi Ve-dodi Li (I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine - from Shir Hashirim) spell Elul.  This reminds us that when we set aside the time and space to allow ourselves to open and return to the source of being, the sacred source of being will return to us.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Parshat Ki Tavo - hearing your heart's song

Parshat Ki Tavo - Deut. 28:2 "And all these blessings shall come upon you, and overtake you, if you hear the voice of the Lord your God."

"Listen, listen , listen to my heart's song; listen, listen, listen to my heart's song, I will never forget you, I will never forsake you.  .  ."  May we each listen to and hear the voice of our heart's song.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Elul - Psalm 27

Psalm 27:4 - "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life."

We are called to recite Psalm 27 each day from Rosh Hodesh Elul through Hoshanah Rabbah. Psalm 27 speaks of the suffering that comes upon us and the adversaries who pursue us.  Yet though it may seem that a host is encamped against us, our hearts need not fear.  May we have the faith and courage to sing praises and recognize that we truly can dwell in the eternal all of the days of our lives.    

Friday, September 2, 2011


Parshat Shoftim - Deut. 16:20 - "Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live, and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you."

R. Ashi said. "Justice, justice you shall pursue, the first (mention of justice) refers to a decision based on strict law, the second, to a compromise." (Sanhedrin 32b)

We experience and respond to ourselves, each other, and the broader world based on both the letter and the spirit of the law - from places of both gevurah (strength) and chesed (lovingkindness).  May we know when and how to use both responses as we pursue justice in our lives.