Teaching on Reb Zalman’s 8th Yahrzeit, by Rabbi Diane

Teaching on Reb Zalman's 8th Yahrzeit by Rabbi DianeReb Zalman’s 8th Yahrzeit will start this Sunday, July 3, at sundown, the 5th of Tammuz. May his name always be for a blessing!

As I imagine many of us who are local to Boulder will do in the upcoming days, I visited Reb Zalman’s kever/grave site recently, in search of connection and guidance. It was quiet at the kever, a deep, rejuvenating, allowing silence. I came home and scanned my ‘Reb Zalman bookshelf,’ trusting that intuition would lead me to the quote wanting to be heard. This is what jumped out at me:

“Tradition…is what gives the tree structure, substance, and strength, but the vitality is in the growing edge. Every religion needs to have a renewal every year, a new growing edge. But it also needs the substance of its history and tradition. If a tree only had the growing edge, the first wind would knock it down. We have to have a past and a present in order to have a future.” (The Gates of Prayer, 2011)

As the month of Sivan – a month of revelation and covenantal renewal – draws to a close, and we enter into the choppier energetic waters of Tammuz, I invite you to carve out time to name and cherish the ways in which your roots have been nourished, and how this may come to support your own – and our community’s – growth edge in the upcoming weeks.

In Kabbalah Month by Month, Melinda Ribner writes about Tammuz: “Now is the time to reach deep inside ourselves, to muster our own resources and see if we have the inner strength and discernment to stay focused and connected on the spiritual path…This is the month of the healing of seeing, for improving the clarity of our vision.”

In a week in which a variety of Supreme Court decisions have been delivered, overturning hard won rights and protections (including, but not limited to, Roe v. Wade), in a month in which the Kabbalists say that the Divine Name permutation is reversed, at a time when our grief for those who have died may threaten to overwhelm us, I invite us to both reach in and reach out, to make time for silent connection to our ancestors and to the Source of All and to make time to invest in those relationships in this realm that stretch, challenge and nurture us.

For me, this is what a Jewish Renewal community should strive to be: a place that grants us roots in tradition and gives us permission and structure to envision the next turning. It also serves as a nexus of relationships and connections that ground us in the present, so that we can see more clearly where we have been and where we yearn to go. And it is a space encouraging our integration in all Four Worlds, where all that IS can be acknowledged and healed. A community – our community – is not static, but ever-renewing.

May we all contribute to this renewal in ways that would make our Rebbe – as well as our founding Rabbi Emerita Tirzah Firestone – proud. May Congregation Nevei Kodesh continue to be a source of both roots and growth edges for many generations to come!

Chodesh Tov,
Rabbi Diane – Congregation Nevei Kodesh

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