Sunday, April 26, 2015

Love, Grief, Silence, and Revelation - Omer Day 23

by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

I am praying in the woods...

Ahavah rabbah....With abundant love you have loved us, Adonai, our G!d..

As I say these words, I look up and see a fallen tree held up in the crotch of a branch of another tree, and I see a hug, I see love.

And then I notice another hug in the woods...
and another.

I come home and find Orion magazine in my mail box and am drawn immediately to an article entitled "Big Love: The Emotional Life of Elephants" by Carl Safina, who says:
When someone says you can't attribute human emotions to animals, they forget the key leveling detail: humans are animals. 
Safina later quotes Joyce Poole, from her book Coming of Age with Elephants, who writes about elephants' response to death:
"It is their silence that is most unsettling. The only sound is the slow blowing of air out of their trunks as they investigate their dead companion. It's as if even the birds have stopped singing." [Scientist] Vicki [Fishlock] has seen it herself; she says it is "heartstoppingly sad." 
It takes love to grieve.

A midrash teaches that when G!d gave the Torah, the birds stopped singing, the sea did not roar, and no creature spoke. The entire world was silent.

The silence of grief.

Grief requires love.

Revelation happens in silence.

In today's world, and the state of today's planet, where are we on the journey of grief? Can we be silent enough to experience revelation?

We are on the journey from bondage to revelation. We are not yet silent.

Today is Day 23, which is three weeks and two days of the Omer.
Today is Day 23, which is three weeks and two days of the journey from bondage to revelation.

Rabbi Katy Allen is a board certified chaplain and serves as a Nature Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit. She is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. She is a co-convener and coordinator of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network.

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