a wing and a prayer
One should accept the truth from whatever source it proceeds. – Maimonides
There is a rhythm that we can all access. A rhythm to our time on earth, a rhythm that is our breathing, that is our hearts beating, that is the cycle of seasons as they pass through our hearts. That cycle is in fact a spiral. Every year we pass the same point yet we are higher, closer, and deeper. Every season’s energies are different. Each moment in time has a specific energy when it is most easily absorbed, accessed, renewed and repaired. By working to be ever more conscious of these forces and their unique moments in time, we may better be able to make use of their energies. It is work for the body, the heart and the spirit. Time is holy.
The Jewish calender begins counting the months with Nissan, the month of Pesach. We internalize slavery in order to fully experience freedom. We know the heart of the stranger for we were strangers in Egypt. Then Counting the Omer we discover that it’s in the journey we come to know who we are and what we are made of. On the 33rd day of the Count, the radiant flames of Lag B’Omer connect the physical and the spiritual worlds. Fire is an expression of the union of heaven and earth, a preparation for the festival of Shavuot, the holy wedding in time.
In the heat of summer, brokenhearted, we are brought to the level of mourners on Tisha B’Av. “The Temple in Jerusalem was the place where God and the people found great intimacy. The memory of this closeness is what Tisha B’Av is ultimately about: not a longing for sacrifices, but for the intimacy with God that worship evoked”*. Our mourning/our ‘refugee’ status (since we lost the Temple) reminds us to return to the present and to bless what we have. Aware of the miracle of our every breath, we can now see the King is in the Field. So so close to us. We are all daughters and sons of the King. In this knowledge we find the grace to embark on the work of the month of Elul, a season to prepare our hearts for the High Holidays: Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. “To everything there is a Season… A time for War and a time for Peace” these words are from Kohelet (Ecclesiates), which is read on the Shabbat that falls during Sukkot or on Shemini Atzeret.
“At the beginning of time, there shone a unique light called the Ohr Haganuz… the Hidden Light. With this light you could see from one end of the Creation to the other. Even though the Creator hid away the Ohr Haganuz after the first thirty-six hours of Creation, there are times when you can still catch glimpses of its hidden glow”. The thirty-six candles lit on Chanukah correspond to the thirty-six hours during which the Ohr Haganuz shone”. (1)
Tu B’Shevat, one of four new years in the Jewish calendar, marks another beginning. The sap starts to rise in the trees, yet the world appears to be devoid of outer growth. The full moon of Shevat is still a period of concealment. Tu B’Shevat comes to remind us that the seeds of redemption are indeed stirring within.
When the month of Adar arrives we increase our Joy. The Rabbis say that all the festivals will one day cease, but the days of Purim will continue even in the Messianic era. Purim is a brief glimpse of the World to Come. Here we experience a paradigm shift, a direct link to that mystical state called Joy.
“Seasons of Joy” Arthur I Waskow
“Preparing Your Heart for the High Holy Days, a Guided Journal” Kerry M Olitzky and Rachel T. Sabath
“Seasons of the Moon- Cheshvan/Kislev” Ohr Somayach Interactive 2000 (1)
I have found the following Web Sites to be excellent sources for studying Torah: A Still Small Voice, Chabad, Ohr Somayach, Meaningful Life, Inner Dimension, My Jewish Learning*
other relevant links:
Jewish Dreamwork w/ Rabbi Jill Hammer
A Mitzvah to Eat special resource for Fast Days