Monthly Archives: May 2012

Please help out on Super Sunday – June 3 – at Jewish Federation

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

I’m writing today on behalf of Jewish Federation of the Berkshires. Their Super Sunday fundraising kickoff is next Sunday, June 3rd; I’m hoping that many of us will be able to volunteer to help out.

Jewish Federation provides tremendous support for CBI — including subsidizing our education programs, which makes a huge difference in our community. Federation cares for those in need, nurtures and sustains our local Jewish community, and supports a variety of program in Israel and elsewhere around the world. They help to take care of us; please help to take care of them in return.

Super Sunday times are listed below. If you’re able to lend a hand, even for a short while, please RSVP by calling Susan Frisch Lehrer, Coordinator of Volunteers at 413-442-4360, ext. 14 or by email at jfb.volunteer@verizon.net.

Bring your cellphone; training will be provided, as will snacks.

Thanks for pitching in to help Jewish Federation of the Berkshires do their meaningful and important work.

Take care,

Reb Rachel

 

Site: Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, 196 South Street, Pittsfield

Super Sunday Times                         

Sunday, June 3, 8 am to 11 am     (follow-up time: Tuesday, June 5, 4:30 pm – 9 pm)

Sunday, June 3, 10 am to 1 pm     (follow-up time: Thursday, June 7, 4:30 pm – 9 pm)

Sunday, July 1, 9 am – 12 pm       (follow-up time: Tuesday, June 26, 4:30 – 9 pm)

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Day 49 of the Omer

49
Malkhut b’Malkhut
Sovereignty within Sovereignty

The last day of the Omer. This is the day of malkhut squared: sovereignty within sovereignty, kingship within kingship, queenship within queenship.

Some teach that malkhut is the only sefirah (aspect of God) which we can truly access. Divine emanation streams from the limitless ein-sof (the most transcendent part of God, which we can neither conceptualize nor encounter) through the ten sefirot, spiraling down in a chain of blessing and being modulated and transformed as it flows. Only when it reaches malkhut has it been gentled into a form which won’t blow out our spiritual circuits. We can’t connect directly with the higher sefirot, but we can connect to malkhut. Malkhut is divine immanence, God to Whom we can relate.

Can you know yourself, today, to be a unique and spectacular manifestation of God’s presence in creation?

Tomorrow at sundown we will ascend to the spiritual heights of Shavuot — the day of matan Torah, receiving the Torah. Take a deep breath and begin to get yourself ready for the revelation that is coming.


As I count the Omer, let my counting create a tikkun, a healing, between transcendence and immanence, God far above and God deep within.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם, אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.

Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, breath of life, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

 

Today is forty-nine days, which are seven weeks, of the Omer!

Day 48 of the Omer

48
Yesod b’Malkhut
Foundation within Sovereignty

Today is the next-to-last day of the Omer: the day of foundation and connection within sovereignty.

What connects us with the ultimate Sovereign which is God?

What roots us in our theology?

How might God, and God’s kingship or queenship or sovereignty, be part of the foundations of our peoplehood? The foundations of our universe?

This is the 48th step toward Shavuot, toward revelation, toward Sinai. Tomorrow will be the last day of our counting; the day after that is Shavuot. Pause and notice how it feels to be at this moment in the count. What has this journey been like for you? How does it feel to approach this holiday, having noticed and counted each day leading up to the anniversary of the revelation of Torah at Sinai?


As I count the Omer, let my counting create a tikkun, a healing, between transcendence and immanence, God far above and God deep within.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם, אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.

Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, breath of life, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

 

Today is forty-eight days, which are six weeks and six days, of the Omer!

Day 47 of the Omer

47
Hod b’Malkhut
Splendid Humility within Sovereignty

This is the day of humble splendor and splendid humility within sovereignty. This is the day when we relate to Shekhinah, the divine indwelling Presence of God, both as the humble exile and as the regal queen.

Like Shekhinah, we too are in exile from pure connection with God. Like Shekhinah, we too are majestic, Beloved of God, treasured. May we blossom today with the nobility of humble splendor.

In Rabbi Min Kantrowitz‘ Omer book, she writes:

The Shabbat morning liturgy includes a prayer of gratitude for “Your miracles that are dialy with us, and for Your wondrous kindness at all times — morning, noon, and night.” God is envisioned as “doing wonders.” Some of those wonders are dramatic and miraculous, like parting the sea for the Israelites to cross over. Most of God’s wonders, the amazing varieties within creation, are far subtler. Hod she b’Malchut/Shechina is a day for noting some of those wonders.

Keep a list of everything you notice today as evidence of the splendor of diversity. To get started, smell each of the spices in your spice cabinet.


As I count the Omer, let my counting create a tikkun, a healing, between transcendence and immanence, God far above and God deep within.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם, אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.

Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, breath of life, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

 

Today is forty-seven days, which are six weeks and five days, of the Omer!

Day 46 of the Omer

46
Netzach b’Malkhut
Endurance within Sovereignty

Today is the day of endurance within sovereignty. Today our sense of ourselves as sovereign endures. Today we celebrate our own enduring sovereignty even as we recognize that true sovereignty, true control, true understanding is something infinite and deep and beyond our comprehension — and it lasts forever, which is beyond our comprehension, too.

This is the forty-sixth step toward Shavuot, toward revelation, toward Sinai. What is unfolding in you as this next pilgrimage festival approaches? What is it that endures in your sense of God’s presence?


As I count the Omer, let my counting create a tikkun, a healing, between transcendence and immanence, God far above and God deep within.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם, אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.

Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, breath of life, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

 

Today is forty-six days, which are six weeks and four days, of the Omer!

New Velveteen Rabbi Podcast – recorded at CBI!

For those who are interested, there’s a new episode of the Velveteen Rabbi Podcast available at Reb Rachel’s blog.

A podcast is like a radio show, released over the internet, to which one can listen anytime. You can subscribe to podcasts, or you can listen to them online, or you can download them for later listening.

This episode of the VR Podcast is an experimental one — rather than featuring Reb Rachel talking about some aspect of Jewish life and practice, it features a (very slightly abridged) Shabbat morning service. This service was recorded at CBI this past Shabbat; the shlichei tzibbur (prayer-leaders) are Reb Rachel and visiting ALEPH rabbinic students David Curiel and Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser.

You can listen to the podcast here: VR Podcast Episode 3 – A Shabbat Morning Service. Enjoy!

Day 45 of the Omer

45
Tiferet b’Malkhut
Harmony, Balance, Compassion within Sovereignty

Today is the day of harmony, balance, and compassion within the week of sovereignty and nobility.

Today we ask: how can I find balance and harmony, with myself and with others and with God, through my desire to be noble?

Today we ask: how can I use my desire to be noble, kingly or queenly, to impel me toward full and complete compassion?

Try to cultivate compassion, harmony, and balance today as you move through your own little fiefdom, your own life in which you imagine yourself to be in charge.


As I count the Omer, let my counting create a tikkun, a healing, between transcendence and immanence, God far above and God deep within.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם, אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.

Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, breath of life, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.

 

Today is forty-five days, which are six weeks and three days, of the Omer!