Posts by Or HaLev

Climbing the Ladder

»Posted by on Apr 16, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Come and journey with me. Let us climb the ladder together. The limbs, like rungs. Ascending toward the heavens. Together, let us find God. It is not the natural state of a human being to see ourselves in our wholeness. We are masters when it comes to analyzing the various parts of us, chopping ourselves into bits and pieces. But we are a totality. At first glance, we lack the ability to perceive ourselves as such.Spiritual practice combats this handicap. Through worship or mindfulness, we elevate the consciousness, briefly adopting the perspective of the soul. We look from above rather than from within, so that we can see. It is only from this vantage point that we can envision our days and our lives, that we can achieve our purpose. Our experience as human...

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Footnote

»Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

* From a neurological perspective, the medial prefrontal cortex may go off line in an evolutionary regression to the survivalist instincts and powers of the reptilian and mammalian brain.

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Quaking

»Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of the earliest Jewish mystical works, Sefer Yetzirah, the book of Creation, offers us insight into the essence of the month of Tevet, the current Hebrew month. According to Sefer Yetzirah, the month of Tevet is endowed with the quality of רוגז, anger. Many people would be quick to classify anger as a “negative” emotion and, in so doing, join an ancient tradition suggesting that anger is spiritual poison and to be avoided at all costs, but Sefer Yetzirah invites us to think differently. We decry anger because we so often lose control under its influence, acting harmfully towards ourselves, others, or our environment.* To add insult to injury, anger often leads to blaming, shaming, and wronging. Moved by our anger, we point strongly at the other, acting...

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Warriors of the Heart

»Posted by on Dec 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We are in the month of Kislev, the month of Hannukah, the festival of lights. The story of Hannukah is a story of bravery, of rediscovering and reclaiming who we most deeply are as Jews, and finding the courage to live that truth, despite opposition, fear and disapproval. We can also read the story of Hannukah as the story of our practice. In our practice we are asked to be warriors – Maccabees – warriors of the heart who are willing to confront and embrace even that which is most terrifying. And, in that confrontation, through that bravery, we reclaim our true nature. We strive to recapture our joy, wonder, lightness and illumination; to reclaim our play and delight (once more light!), to uncover all of those parts of ourselves, especially those...

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Reflections, September 2016

»Posted by on Sep 5, 2016 in Newsletter | 0 comments

By Rabbi Dr. James Jacobson-Maisels Parashat Shofetim R. Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk’s opens his reflections on Parashat Shofetim by quoting from Torah and the Talmud: [Then the officials shall address the troops, as follows:] “Is there anyone who has built [a new house but has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his home, lest he die in battle and another dedicate it. Is there anyone who has] planted a vineyard [but has never harvested it? Let him go back to his home, lest he die in battle and another harvest it. Is there anyone who has] betrothed a wife, [but who has not yet married her? Let him go back to his home, lest he die in battle and another marry her.” The officials shall go on addressing the troops and say,] “Is there anyone afraid [and...

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