Re-Dedicating the Temple

Once we had The Temple where we made sacrifices of precious blood and grain.
Now we we have temples where people pray, but few truly give offerings.

The darkness. The darkness. The darkness.

Doesn’t the light always return?

The light, it does return?

It does return.

Hanukkah?

חנוכה

The lights.   We light them.   The light returns.

We light the lights to remember. We light the lights to re-dedicate the temple or The Temple?

Where is The Temple?

Isn’t She everywhere? Is She the שכינה, the Presence? Isn’t the Presence everywhere and in everything.

Yes

Then I re-dedicate The Temple here.

נס גדול היה שם

Yes, but I am here —פה

I r e a c h to others who feel as I do.   And one becomes many.   I becomes we.   We together, reclaim our inheritance.

We re-dedicate the Earth, אדמה, as Temple.
We pour offerings of sweat, not blood.
We pour offerings of grain and oil.
We pour offerings of praise and care.
We care for our Temple,
Our Holy of Holies,
Through every action we take.

We light the lights…

And it begins again

[originally published December 14, 2006]

Yom haShoah

This was my quote of the day that is randomly chosen by my Palm Pilot from a list of quotes each day:

God is hiding in this world. Our task is to let the Divine emerge from our deeds
— Abraham Joseph Heschel

remember remember remember strength remember remember remember hope remember remember love remember remember remember dreams remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember hope remember remember remember heal remember remember remember courage remember remember remember humanity remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember love remember remember sacrifice remember family remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember life remember remember remember Darfur remember remember friends remember remember remember humanity remember remember remember remember remember remember remember resistance remember remember remember remember remember remember promise remember remember rightous remember remember hope remember remember heros remember remember remember remember remember names remember remember remember dreams remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember peace remember resitance remember remember peace remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember strength remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember hope remember remember names remember resistance remember remember remember remember remember peace remember remember remember remember remember remember love remember remember courage remember remember remember sacrifice remember remember remember resistance

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
— Hannah Szenes

remember remember remember children remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember laughter remember remember Auschwitz remember dreams remember remember remember family remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember prayers remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember names remember Cambodia remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember redemption remember remember remember remember remember heros remember hope remember remember remember remember liberation remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember lover remember remember remember Bosnia remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember Treblinka remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember love remember remember remember love remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember prayers remember remember heros remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember Dachau remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember humanity remember remember remember remember liberation remember remember remember Kurdistan remember courage remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember remember music remember remember remember family remember remember love remember dreams
remember peace remember love remember hope
ACT DO CHANGE LIVE LIFE SUCCEED

[tags]yom hashoah, remember, genocide, life, remembrance[/tags]

Pesach 2006 – The Menu

The links are to either the recipe or the cookbook. There are a couple of things that don’t have recipe, so that’s why they aren’t linked.

The Menu:

Fish and Salad
Smoked Salmon and Egg Canapes on Matzah Crackers
Spinach Salad with Grapefruit, Orange and Avocado

Main Course
Lamb Kabobs
Quinoa Salad
Cucumber Lemon Salad
Mushroom and Tofu Marsala
Algerian-style Charoset

Dessert
White Stilton with Mango and Ginger
Pineapple
Kiwi

p.s. yes, I know that tofu is not kosher according to Ashkenazi — but I tend to follow Sephardic rules for Pesach. And since I’m serving cheese as dessert after lamb kabobs — I think it’s clear that I don’t keep trad-kosher. And yes, the lamb is from an eco-friendly farm. I’ve even met the farmers and they are good, decent people who believe in doing things right and treating the animals with respect.

 

Tu B’Shvat Ritual

I’ve been thinking a lot about what a good, simple Tu B’Shvat ritual would be. Where I live February is still winter, and where many of my friends live it’s really winter. Maybe in Israel and places south, it’s time for the earth to start warming up — but in the Northern USA and Canada — it’s winter.

So how do we recognize and appreciate this earth-based ritual in an authentic way? Well, I was reading a great ritual idea by one of my favorite teachers, Rabbi Jill Hammer, on my way to work this morning and I was inspired. She says in her newsletter that reading the psalms known as the “songs of ascent” is a traditional thing to do for Tu B’Shvat, and has a lovely way of associating them with trees.

Now, me — I’d want a tree to look at or smell or something, but it’s cold outside.

Here’s my variation of this concept. Get a forced bulb kit, so you can actually have something growing to enjoy. There are many options, here are pretty ones I found on Amazon.com.

I like the idea of using a crocus because for so many of us it in the North, it is the first sign of spring, although crocus forcing kits can be hard to find. It will be easier to find hyacinth, paper whites, and amaryllis. Order it in time to have it by Rosh Chodesh Shevat, which is a new moon.

On the night of the new moon, when it is still a dark moon prepare your bulb. Sit in the dark moon and feel that time between. Just sit with your bulb and meditate on this dark time of year. Accept it, don’t fight it. Just allow the darkness to exist.

The next night is Rosh Chodesh Sh’vat. Here begin saying your psalms (Psalms 120—135 ). Cast a circle or ground in center in your own way — and each night or morning until Tu B’shevat say one of the fifteen psalms and feed energy into your baby crocus. Some of the psalms may confuse your or not inspire you — that’s okay. Think about them. Analyze them. Write down what you like and don’t like about them.

On the last night, Tu B’Shvat. Read the last psalm and conclude with this prayer by Rabbi Jill Hammer:

The Divine One created good trees so the children
of earth might benefit from them. At this
moment, for the sake of the fifteen psalms, and
for the sake of the Divine Breath, the Tree of
Life, may the sap awaken in the branch. Awake,
thornbush and myrtle, awake etrog and reed, awake
willow and palm, awake fig and cedar, awake vine
and oak, awake almond and terebinth, awake
pomegranate and olive and apple. Awake (insert
your own varieties). Awake, all trees in all the
corners of the earth. I awaken the trees in the
name of the Tree of Life, for she is a tree of
life to all who hold her fast.

— reprinted with permission

If you are looking for more information about the associations of the Songs of Ascent to trees, do check out Jill Hammer’s great piece on that, which is where the above prayer came from.

No matter how cold and snowy it is where you live, you are able to experience this holiday through the blooming of a beautiful plant.

Yartzeit Rachel Imeinu & Veteran’s Day

Good Shabbos. May the blessings of Rachel Imeinu be with you all, and especially those who have served their country with honor.

Guardians of the Fire

Poem copyright Carly Lesser (Chava Chai)

Photograph: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38074672@N00/42483591/