Sunday, April 23, 2017

Call to Prayer

by Judith Felsen, Ph.D. 

In the wind, You whisper to us
In the skies You elevate us
In the forests You shelter us
In the oceans You cleanse us
In the rivers You bathe us
In the earth You embrace us
In the days You awaken us
In the nights You restore us
In the mountains You inspire us
In the valleys You replenish us
In the rains You quench us
In the sun You enliven us
In the moon You deepen us
In all ways and forms You invite us
Nature engages us daily in a call to prayer

© Judith Felsen, Ph.D. 

Judith Felsen holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, certificates in hypnotherapy, NLP, Eriksonian Hypnosis, and Sacred Plant Medicine. She is a dancer of sacred circle dance, an AMC kitchen crew, trail information volunteer, trail adopter, and daily student of Torah and Judaism. She is enrolled in Rabbinical Seminary International. She has studied Buddhism, A Course in Miracles, and other mystical traditions. She is a hiker, walker, runner, and lives in the White Mountains with her husband and two large dogs. Her life centers around her Jewish studies and daily application.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Moving out of Bondage toward Freedom

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם
In each and every generation, it is every person's obligation 
to see herself/himself/themselves 
as if she/he/they personally has/have come out from Mitzrayim. 

Mitzrayim - the narrow straits of bondage. The Talmud tells us that only 20 percent of the Israelites actually left Mitzrayim. The other 80 percent identified so fully as Egyptian that they didn't want to leave.

What is it that we don't really want to leave behind? 

And what is it that pulls us toward making that break toward freedom?

Most of us are a mix of the 80 percent and the 20 percent-- 
with, perhaps, slightly different numbers.

It is so very difficult to leave our bondage.

We are enslaved.
We are enslaved by fossil fuels.
We are enslaved by racism.
We are enslaved by privilege.
And so much more.

We resist.
We resist freedom due to apathy.
We resist freedom due to exhaustion. 
We resist freedom due to despair.
And so much more.

What is it 
that can push us out of our personal Mitzrayim
to begin the journey
that will take us 
to that terrifying place
where we stand,
seemingly helpless,
between the army and the sea?

What will it take
for us to put our first foot forward
and take one step
and then another,
to begin the long journey
out of Mitzrayim?

What has the power
to enable us 
to step into the sea
and keep on walking
until the water 
is up to our noses?

How can we find 
the strength we need?

For each of us, 
the answer is different,
very personal,
and for each of us,
the answer is the same,
totally universal.

And so, on this Passover night,
let us do this together.
Let us take the step,
the first step out of Mitzrayim,
out of bondage,
the first step into the sea,
into the unknown--
knowing that when we do,
others will follow,
knowing that when we do,
the waters will part,
and we will cross over
to a new place
beyond our imagination
where we are different,
where we are free.

Chag sameach - may you have a blessed and meaingful Passover.
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, the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network. She is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spiritand is a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY in 2005 and lives in Wayland, MA.