Friday, March 1, 2024

What Does it Take to Pause and Rest - Parashat Ki Tisa

by Rabbi Katy Allen


Do we have the courage to pause and rest?

G!d spoke to Moses on the mountaintop and commanded the Israelites to stop working for a day, to have a day of complete rest. And the next thing we read is that the israelites grew impatient because Moses was gone too long, so they built and started worshiping a golden calf.

What is it about the idea of resting that is so threatening that we must immediately abandon our faith and trust in all that is sacred and turn toward the material in life? 

Stopping, getting out of the rat race, out of the safety of our routine and our busyness is frightening. It opens doors to the unknown. If we stop, truly stop, we might discover within ourselves an untapped spiritual power, a new awareness that might challenge us and force us to change and grow. 

What might that mean for our lives? Where will we be then? 

Take a deep breath, pause, and find your power. You can handle it.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Katy

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the co-founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in  Yonkers, NY, in 2005. She is the author of A Tree of Life: A Story in Word, Image, and Text and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger.





Sunday, September 24, 2023

10 Days of Transforming Pain into Beauty, Day 10, Yom Kippur

 by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

We have, to date, failed to stop the runaway train of climate change. On this holiest day of the Jewish calendar, we must ask ourselves, How can we find and extract beauty from the pain of our failure? What does it take for us to put love, compassion, and hope at the center of our lives, and in the process transform both ourselves and the world around us into something far more beautiful than anything we have known before?

Part of what it takes is determination and an unwillingness to give up. We can learn something about determination from mushrooms, which push their way up through whatever is needed in order for their fruiting bodies to reach the air.

Katy Z. Allen

We can learn something of determination from seedlings and from trees.

Mary North Allen
We can learn something of determination from the history of the Jewish people. After the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem two millenia ago, the ancient rabbis refused to accept defeat, and transformed their religion into something that would work in the diaspora and without a central place of worship. It was out of the ashes of the destruction of the Temple that the Rabbinic Judaism we live today was born, a deep collective act of turning pain into beauty.

We can learn something of determination from the rebirth of the Jewish people after the tragedy of the Holocaust. So many survivors refused to let their spirits die, but to go on living, and, each in his or her own way, to create.a small, perhaps imperfect, oasis of beauty, the essence of life.

On this holy day, and every day, what keeps you determined to live with love, compassion, and hope?

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in  Yonkers, NY, in 2005. She is the author of A Tree of Life: A Story in Word, Image, and Text and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the.singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

10 Days of Transforming Pain into Beauty, Day 9, Love and Compassion

 by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Like heat and like hope, love and compassion are also invisible. And like them as well, we can also feel them. We know when they are in the room with us.