This piece was an assignment for the Hartman Rabbinical Students Seminar. We were asked to choose one poem or song that we studied and one other piece of text that we studied, share a line or a paragraph from each and a reflection on it. Ever the overachiever, I ended up weaving together themes from three different pieces.
Rabbi Hiyya’s Initiation, Zohar on Shmot verse 2
Rabbi Hiyya heard & said, “Oy! The high ones are busy with learning inside the house and I am sitting on the outside!” And he wept. Continue reading →
This year, while learning in the Pardes Year Program, I also attended the Shalom Hartman Institute Rabbinic Student Seminar. I learned weekly on Wednesday evenings with 20 + rabbinic students from N. and S. America and Europe under the guidance of Melila Hellner-Eshed and Yossi Klein HaLevi. My sister Pardesnik and ALEPH rabbinic program student, Annie Matan Gilbert, also attended the Hartman program. Our last session was this evening, May 8.
For me, it has been a magical time: excursions into Zohar, contemporary Israeli poetry, music, politics, and society. Our final project was to select one line each from a sacred text and poem we studied and make a commentary on them. Here’s mine: Continue reading →
Don’t count me out.
I’m not young.
In fact, I am rightfully considered to be among the elders of our community.
But I didn’t grow up in yeshivish Judaism, and my knowledge, is how shall we say…
Limited by the circumstances of my origin.
I’m acutely aware of it here, in Jerusalem, at Pardes.
Nonetheless, I am proud of the place I came from: my parents, my grandparents, who taught me to be strong and forthright, to care about other human beings, and to try to make the world a better place.
Do you dare to tell me for one instant that I can’t convey dedication to our shared tradition, Love for G!d, reverence for the power of the calendar, gratitude for existence
to my kahal?
I’ll tell you, “I can”.
I dream of a world united,
A place where hope is realized.
I hear my brothers and sisters singing together.
I think, maybe, maybe, there is an entity that we call G!d, who is happy with my thanks.
I think maybe, maybe,
I can just be, and it is enough
Previously, on Lost in Jerusalem, I made the grand pronouncement that I was setting for myself no less than three goals in an attempt to be healthier, happier, and perhaps something more of a writer than a poser who talks about how nice it would be if I were a writer. If you tuned into that episode, you’ll recall that I was going to read a book a week, run every other day, and publish a blog post by the end of said week, whether I had anything worth saying or not (and if I didn’t have anything worth saying, I’d make up for it by providing my hapless readers with a gripping book report on whatever novel I had decided to read that week). Well, it’s more than one week later, and I can report with certainty that I’ve already Continue reading →
I really need to write a blog post right now, but I must first overcome many obstacles.
The above statement has two parts. I should know what they’re called because I was an English major, but thankfully, I managed to receive my degree without taking a single grammar class. So, there might be an independent clause, a subordinate clause, a santa clause, or an insanity clause up there and I have no idea. In any case, in response to the first part of the statement, why do I need to write a blog post right now? Continue reading →
Dustin and Melissa Gutierrez studying at Pardes Night Seder
Melissa and I decided it would be an interesting experience and test of our marriage to learn together, so for the past few months we’ve been having what we fondly call “Mishna Mondays” here at Pardes night seder. We started at the beginning with Brachot, which as you can imagine covers all sort of blessings – beginning with the shema, ending with blessings over food, and covering everything else in between. We finished about a month ago, just after the start of Adar, so it only made sense to have a bit of fun with Continue reading →
Chanan Kessler (Year 1985-86) shares
the following reflection with us in
his mother's memory. Chanan is a NYC
school teacher, and lives in The
During the year that I recited the Kaddish after the death of my beloved mother, Hinda Yael bat Yosef v’Chaya, may her memory always be with us, I asked myself many questions. What was the purpose of saying Kaddish? For whom was I saying Kaddish (myself or my mother)? How was Kaddish related to mourning? In her honor and to help process my thoughts and feelings, I kept a blog in which I mused about these and other questions.
Nothing in life prepares you for mourning the loss of a parent. The idea that the person who gave you life is no longer in the world is incomprehensible. I had nineteen months after my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to get used to the idea, and I understood that I’d soon be a mourner. But there is an existential divide between the “regular” world and the one occupied by mourners.
Becoming a mourner and living without my mother was and continues to be uncharted emotional territory. One of my mother’s many life messages was to strive continuously for Continue reading →
What did you see when you went willingly before the King,
Did you see a melekh in his glory,
A broad-shouldered warrior with a light in his eyes
and a song in his mouth
Or a sorrowing, grief-stricken brother, body covered
in scars and empty in his heart,
Rage covered only half-way by desire?
Was it sympathy or lust that sent you to his bed?
(Which was the illusion, Batsheva,
the melekh or the man?)