Posts Tagged ‘60 Days’

Thoreau’s Sukkah at Walden Pond

April 16, 2012

Looking for Thoreau’s Sukkah at Walden Pond?  Click here. 

Tishrei 30: Everything You Do Matters

October 8, 2010

Have you ever stopped to think that everything you do matters?

Today is the last of our 60-day spiritual journey.  Today’s theme for contemplating, journal writing, and awareness, is “Everything You Do Matters.”  Quoting from Rabbi Jacobson:

“In Jewish mystical thought, space, time, and matter are understood to be forces of Divine energy — sparks that fell to earth at the time of Creation, which became embedded in all aspects of existence; these sparks must be elevated in holiness for the world to achieve perfection as per the Divine plan.

This is why the little things you do in life are sometimes more important than the big things — the journey is sometimes as or more important than the final destination: going to work, people you meet on the way there, the cup of coffee you drink while waiting for the bus, the piece of paper you throw in the trash can — all are changed by your actions.”

I wish I could remember this wisdom more constantly.   It’s not that I don’t believe it — it seems powerfully true.  But sometimes when things are hard, or I have to make difficult choices, I forget that everything I do matters.  When I’m fortunate enough to remember (or read about it!), life feels better.  More complicated, perhaps, but in a good way.  It really does require stopping to think about.  I hope it matters that I’m posting this today.

It’s a new moon.   Tishrei is over.  Heshvan is beginning.*  Time to move on, and try to remember: every little thing matters.

Hebrew vocabulary:

*Heshvan = a month of the Jewish calendar

mar = bitter

This new month is sometimes called Mar Heshvah, which means “bitter Heshvan,” because it has no holidays in it.

(or Mar Heshvah, which means “bitter Heshvan, because it has no holiday

Last Three Days of the Jewish New Year Journey

October 5, 2010

Click to get free emails about the 60-day journey

The first time I read 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Rabbi Simon Jacobson, it was summer 2006.  I followed his suggestions for thinking hard about my life, my personal goals, and how to enjoy the Jewish new-year season more deeply.  I made lists, wrote in my journal every day, read the daily essays, asked myself the daily questions, and did my best to do the daily exercises.  It changed my life!  And I learned a lot about the Jewish holidays, too.

Anyone can still sign up for Rabbi Jacobson’s free emails about the 60-day journey, even if you haven’t been following along over the past 57 days.  Just click on the image of the book.

Sh’mini ‘Atzeret: Remember, remember!

September 30, 2010

As if Gd is swirling around inside the sukkah, saying “Remember, remember!”

The seasonal, agrarian rhythm of the Jewish festival holidays is based on the weather and climate of the land of Israel, not New England.  I know this.  Nevertheless, in seven years of annual dwelling in my own sukkah, it always seems so windy on Sh’mini ‘Atzeret.

As if Gd is swirling around inside the sukkah, saying “Remember, remember!”

Because this is our challenge today: to distill all our new insight and energy into the rest of the year, now that the Tishrei holiday season is almost over.  To take the spiritual shelter of the sukkah into ourselves, and remember.

Remember the soul-searching of Elul, the wake-up call of the shofar. Remember the Melting Heart of Tashlikh, remember teshuvah, the return to our Purist Selves.  Remember Forgiveness.  Remember Joy.  Remember getting back together, with Gd and with each other.

The flimsy structure of the sukkah, with its skhakh-roof  full of holes, reminded us of our vulnerability in life, that even our solid-seeming homes can’t ultimately protect us.  As we read in Kohelet (the Hebrew name for the Book of Ecclesiastes), “Ha-kol havel!” Everything is vapor, vanity, futility.  As if to underscore this point, the electric power is going on and off, my digital clocks are all blinking.  Wake up!  Pay attention!   The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the Boston area.    There’s rain and thunder and a dramatic WIND.

The season is changing.  The energy is shifting.  Remember, remember!

More Jewish Holidays!

September 29, 2010

Three more holidays in our Jewish New Year Holiday Season:

Tishrei 21, which ended at sundown tonight, was Hoshana Rabba (“the Great Hoshana”), which was the final day for waving the lulav and etrog.

Tishrei 22 began at sundown tonight, initiating the holiday of Sh’mini ‘Atzeret (“the Stopping of the Eighth,” i.e., the eighth day, and truly the end of, Sukkot), a less-famous Jewish festival.  Among other observances, we say goodbye to the sukkah until next year.

Tishrei 23 is when we celebrate Simhat Torah, which means, literally, “the joy of the Torah.”  We read from the very end, then rewind the scroll all the way back to the beginning and read from there.

It is truly a holiday cycle.

Hebrew grammar:

Simhat is the s’mikhut (construct) form of simhah. The noun modifies the next noun.

Simhah = joy

Simhat = joy of…

Elul 15 – Full Moon, Full Reflection

August 26, 2010
Fullmoon

Image by Αλεξάνδρα via Flickr

Today is the full moon of Elul.

The full moon reflects the light of the sun.

Everything we see is a reflection of ourselves.  “You are what you see.  And you see what you are.”

It’s Day 16 in our 60-day spiritual journey, and we face some hard questions:

1. Do you recognize your own flaws when you see them in others?

2. Do you see the goodness around you?

The Thirteen Attributes of Divine Compassion radiate during Elul — even when we’re immersed in mundane activity.  It’s the power of Elul.

In exactly two weeks, at the new moon, the Jewish New Year begins, with Rosh haShanah, literally “the head of the year.”

Jewish New Year Cards – Quiz #1

August 24, 2010

NYcard1-frontThis pretty picture appears on the front of a typical greeting card you might send or receive for the Jewish New Year (in Hebrew: Rosh haShanah).

Quiz:  What are the images in this photograph?   What is the significance of each image?

(Come back soon for answers to this and upcoming quizzes about the Jewish New Year.)

Quotes along the Spiritual Journey: Elul 4

August 15, 2010

Elul 4

These are some of my favorite quotes from Rabbi Simon Jacobson, gleaned from his essay “The Truth Within,” for the fourth day of Elul.

ON RELIGION AND FREEDOM: If your experience of religion is not freeing, then you have fallen into a man-made trap.  Freedom is Divine; it cannot be human.

ON TRUTH: The truth resonates.  When we hear it, we know.

ON TEACHING: Great masters or teachers can’t give us anything we don’t already possess; they can help in one thing only — to open our own pathway to the truth within.

High Holidays for a CHANGE

August 4, 2010

“…rejuventate [your] High Holiday experience and discover the transformative resonance in this most profound and sophisticated of psycho-spiritual systems called the Jewish High Holiday season.” — Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Meaningful Life Center

How do you prepare for the Jewish New Year?  Do you

  • buy High-Holiday tickets?
  • say goodbye to summer and prepare for fall?
  • get your kids ready for school & after-school?

What about you? Your soul, your spirit, your life’s direction and meaning?

Now is your chance to make the changes you’ve been longing for: the approach of the High Holiday season offers the opportunity to actualize your dreams!

Join Natasha Shabat on Tuesday evening, August 10th — the eve of the New Moon — at 7:15 PM, to begin your journey.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 7:15 – 8:45 PM

WHERE: Congregation Kerem Shalom, 659 Elm St., Concord, MA (www.keremshalom.org).

Cost: $10.

For more details, click here.

For more logistical INFORMATION and to REGISTER: Contact Rosalie Gerut at rosaliege@comcast.net or 978-460-1015.

Copies of the book 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Rabbi Simon Jacobson, will be available for purchase ($25) at the event.

Can’t make it on August 10 but still want to join the journey?

  • Request a recording of the event: Rosalie Gerut (rosaliege@comcast.net or 978-460-1015)
  • Send email message to Natasha Shabat to find out about joining others for next steps in the journey.  Subject line: I want to join the journey.
  • Subscribe to free daily emails about the 60 Days from the Meaningful Life Center
  • Buy the book 60 Days (see above) at your local book store or online (Amazon, MLC, etc.)
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