Archive | March, 2013

Day 5 of the Omer – Compassion requires sympathy

31 Mar

Hod in Chesed – grace, the sense of our smallness, in compassion.​

When we see ourselves as small, we connect sympathetically with every one, even every thing. Sympathy can be a source for compassion, and can be essential for kindness in a helpful way.​

When we offer help, we often want to contribute in our own way. Assistance may often be most effective when we allow the person we hope to assist to design the manner in which we help.​

As a parent might often say to a child, “I need you to help me in the way that I need help, not in the way that you think you need to help.”​

Assistance requires listening – compassion requires sympathy.​

Day 4 of the Omer

30 Mar

Netzach in Chesed – victory of the self in compassion and kindness.

Netzach is often associated with a powerful sense of self, even to the exclusion of others so perhaps a challenging fit into to world of compassion and loving kindness.

Kindness towards others begins with understanding that we have something worth giving. We need to believe in or own self-worth in order to offer kindness, even to our selves.

So on this day let us remember to care for our selves as a start to offering each other compassion.

Shabbat Shalom, Happy Counting, and Happy Passover!

Day 3 of the Omer – Compassion for the long term

29 Mar

Tiferet in Chesed – harmonious balance in loving kindness.

Tiferet often connotes beauty, perhaps a supreme harmonized balance between important values – in this case between Chesed, compassion and kindness, and Gevurah, strength and rigor.

Perhaps the beauty we find is the balance between immediate needs and long term needs. In order to enact kindness that transforms the world, we may need to think beyond the good feeling of doing a compassionate deed in the moment. How can we exercise our compassion so as to create a ripple effect of kindness in our selves, our families, and our larger communities?

Balance our kindness for the long view.

Happy Passover and Happy Counting of the Omer!

Day 2 of the Omer – Rigorous Compassion

28 Mar

Gevurah in Chesed – power or rigor in compassion.

At first glance two difficult to combine concepts, still to apply compassion rigorously we would have to demand compassion of ourselves even when we feel no kindness.

Often our first response to difficulty excludes any compassion. To be rigorous in kindness would require us to admit a compassionate reflection, especially towards ourselves when we might be least disposed to do so.

Happy counting!

Day 1 of the Omer – Second Night of Passover Too!

26 Mar

Tonight is Chesed in Chesed – Compassion and loving-kindness in itself.​

Each of the 49 days between tonight and Shavuot, the next big Jewish holiday represents an Omer, a sheaf of barley brought in for the spring harvest. Since we were dependent on that harvest for food in the summer, this became a time of reflection and renew – a spiritual assessment and directing.​

The Kabbalists, Jewish mystics, associated each of the seven easier to grasp sefirot, or Divine spheres of values, with each of the seven weeks, and each day within the week, Hence compassion, the 1st day, in compassion, the 1st week.​

For my thought on compassion, I am going to aim to be compassionate to myself when I have not met the mark in being compassionate. In other words, a little self-forgiveness may enable me to better use my compassion energy in the future.​

Happy Omer Counting everyone, and Happy Passover!​

Temple Beth El’s Passover Seder Supplement – 5773/2013

25 Mar

Chag Sameach! Happy Passover everyone!

Check out TBE’s Seder Supplement – feel free to use any or all of it for your own Passover Seder!

Reflections and insight on today’s issues as they apply to our celebration of Freedom by Rabbi Judy Schindler, Cantor Mary Thomas, and Rabbi Jonathan Freirich.

Download the file from here:
http://jewishand.org/real-religion/2013/3/25/temple-beth-els-seder-supplement-5773-2013

Soul Prints – Rabbi Judy Returns from Interfaith Journey to Israel

12 Mar

It is great to be home after a most inspiring journey to Israel with our decades long partner in dialogue Myers Park Baptist Church. I missed my husband and kids.

Here is the poem I wrote this morning called
“Soul Prints (Interfaith Journey 2013)”

Toward the altar of old, Jews travelled from the farthest places to Jerusalem.
With sacrifices in hand, they hoped to appeal to the Divine.
Toward the altars of today, Jews and Christians travel to the holy land.
Some bring empty offerings – tourists snapping pictures and purchasing postcards.
Others bring sincere sacrifices – pilgrims saying prayers and meditating on their purpose.
Tourists leave foot prints.
Pilgrims leave soul prints.
The sacred dust that attached to the cloth where they dried their weeping eyes
Is their souvenir calling them to act.
Jerusalem JDKling