These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

do not make your self afraid at all, the world is a very narrow bridge

Posted on February 10, 2013 by Shoshana Rosen

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From my blog:

The important thing to remember is to not make yourself afraid at all

Somehow this song, always comes back to me. In times that i least expect it….

I first came across this song at Jewish sleep away camp, singing it on the top top of my little lungs

Kol Ha’olam kulo
Gesher Tsar me’od.
Veha’ikar – veha’ikar
Lo lefached –
lo lefached klal.

The whole world
is a very narrow bridge –
And the main thing to recall –
is not to be afraid –
not to be afraid at all.

But I am not sure I really understood the song. Two years ago, my secular uncle who lives in Israel, once mentioned that it is his favorite song. I was surprised, but when I finally asked him about why, he couldn’t really give an answer, just said something like “it is the meaning of life”. Haha thanks.

So occasionally, it would pop into my head, when hiking or stuck in the line at a grocery store.

But last week it came up again. This time in the most soothing and wonderful calm that sweeper over me.

It told me, you are going to be ok. You are not paralyzed by fear of the future anymore, and you can start to take steps forward. So I did. I look into fellowships in Israel, and jobs in NYC. (HEY YOU, reading this, do you know of any cool opportunities that I can look into?!?! Would be happy to hear from you) I managed to read mission statements, and actually search for what I want to do next year, without getting so overwhelmed that I want to eat some chocolate bamba and cry.

Whereas before when I would think about the future (quiet often) my head would hurt, my heart heavy, and I would be so overwhelmed with not knowing that I was stuck, in the pits of the pits of the pits (as I learned in Rabbi Meir’s hummash class—hello chevruta!)

SO for the first time in months, I could breath, take life into my own hands and walk the very narrow bridge.

But wait its gets better. Sitting in one of my favorite classes (ok they are my entire favorite) we had a chance to mediate on random quotes that were put on slips of paper. I picked one out, and it happened to be

“Know that a person must cross a very very narrow bridge. And the most important thing to remember is not to make yourself afraid at all” Likutei Muharon 48

THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I DID!! I made myself afraid, so afraid that I couldn’t even step foot onto the bridge. Well, now I have.

But things get ever crazier!

Over the last two weeks, I have gone to 3 concerts! It’s my new favorite thing to do in Israel.

The first, to small concert, ishay ribo, in a tiny venue (around 30 people) with a modern religious guy singing beautiful songs incorporating Jewish texts and prayers. It even included a kick-butt violinist! (And some beer!, with a cute Israeli dancer friend sitting by my side) Here he is:


The second, to the first openly gay performer, Ivri Lider, in a concert of couple hundred people. He was SOO good!


Third, Aviv Guedj, to a long haired alternative rock artist whose lyrics penetrate the depths of the soul, to those dark places, and whose atmosphere and sound makes you want to just rock out to life. And it was here, out of all places, that towards the end of the very sweaty concert I hear “kol halom kolo” I couldn’t believe my heard, I thought I was going crazy. This guy cannot be singing the world is a very narrow bridge. But I continued letting my body rock back and forth and get carried away by the music


Well that’s Israel: the religious, the gay, and the guy suffering from PTSD.

So as I continue walking along this very narrow bridge, I remember to breathe, to smile, and to do not make myself afraid at all.