Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope

Spiritual Wisdom from Earth and Torah

Divrei Earth

The views and opinions expressed in the d'vrei Earth represent those of the author.

26.10.2021
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Have you ever heard of the Mid-State Trail? 

I've known about this trail for many years. It runs 92 miles from the Rhode Island border to New Hampshire, through Worcester County. I've always wanted to hike it. 

Now, at the age of 70, with a nagging back and a body weakened by numerous very annoying but not life-threatening health issues, I've decided to walk this trail. It's now or never. And Gabi, closing in on 79, has decided to come with me.

To make our project more interesting and more meaningful, we are turning our effort into a fundraiser for the Framingham Community Farm, a volunteer farm on the campuses of Edwards Church and First Parish of Framingham. This small farm donates all its fresh, organic produce to A Place to Turn food pantry in Natick, providing delicious fresh vegetables to hungry families in the Metrowest area throughout the summer.

Our goal is to raise $3000 for the Framingham Community Farm, to be used to add five more beds to the gardens at Edwards Church / Open Spirit, set up a drip irrigation system for the beds at First Parish, and enrich the farm by adding raspberries and blueberries.

This project feels like a totally crazy thing for us to do, and also exactly the right thing. We invite you to join us on our adventure through a donation here, either as a lump sum or a per-mile amount, to spur us on. 

We also invite you to join us on the trail for a day or two or more. We have no set schedule, but hope to walk a section of the trail at least one day a week. Just keep in mind that if you walk with us, you have to be willing to meander at our tortoise pace and listen to us wondering why we ever entered into this unexpected endeavor. And if you live near the trail and would like to host us overnight to make it easier for us to hike two days in a row, we'd love to spend time with you!

We promise nothing whatsoever except that we will start and we will try. Once significant snow flies we plan to pause until better conditions arrive. Life may get in the way and slow us down or stop us. Or we may walk all of those 92 miles during the coming months.

We'll post updates and photos on Facebook and Instagram. Please share our journey and spread the word. Thank you for your interest and participation. Hope to see you on the trail or volunteering at Framingham Community Farm!

Katy and Gabi

11.10.2021
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

I've had a delicious crop of raspberries this fall. 

It's obvious, of course, that growing your own fruit means you need to take the time to harvest it. So, every morning since late August, I've been picking raspberries. I eat them with my breakfast granola. What a tasty treat I enjoy!

This year as I've been picking raspberries, I've noticed something I never paid attention to before, though surely it was also true in the past. I've noticed that I need to look carefully. When I first approach the raspberry patch, plump red berries hanging over the wire beckon me, and I eagerly pull the first bright beacons of scarlet I see off the canes.

Yum! I think to myself as I pop them into my container. 

And I go on to the next berries, also readily visible.

I'm about to move on down the row when I tilt my head a bit and another flash of crimson catches my eye.Then I move my head again, and again, looking from above, from below, and from the side. Each time I change my position, I find more ripe berries to take home for breakfast.What a delight!As the days of picking go by, I begin to acknowledge that a message is coming to me from the raspberries: It isn't enough to look just once, from one angle. In order to achieve the full potential of joy and yumminess from my raspberry patch, I need to look from every direction. I need to seek. I need to regularly change my perspective.Over time, I realize there are actually two messages in the raspberries. One message is the reminder that different perspectives view the same thing in different ways. People looking at the world differently than I do see something different, and it is just as real and just as "delicious and pick-able". Sometimes this reality is very hard to live with.The other message is that there is always more than initially meets the eye. That it's important to expend energy, to "turn it and turn it, for all is in it, and through it you shall see" (Pirkei Avot 5:22). Sometimes this one is hard and sometimes it is easy.There is wisdom in the raspberries. Letting the spiritual fruits of my picking enter my heart takes time and effort, just as does picking fresh fruit for my morning meal. May I, and you,  always find time for both.Enjoy your fruits!Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and 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, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the.singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.

01.10.2021
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Katy Allen

Note: This post was written for the project Midrash HaZak, Torah Wisdom by 70 Over 70, created by Rabbi Susan Elkodsi.

I remember when I was turning 60 thinking that this was going to be a productive decade for me. I had a good feeling about it. I remembered that for my own mother, her 60s had been a decade overflowing with creative output. I hoped that I might be able to match her. I think I did pretty well. Those were rich years for me. Overall, they played out well.

Not so long ago, I turned 70. I find myself looking toward this next decade with a different perspective. During my 60s, I did a lot of creative work that involved working with other people, building organizations, making things happen. Now, I find myself much more interested in doing internal creative work, bringing forth from within me what needs to be shared from my learnings during life’s journey, allowing my wisdom and understanding a home in the world.

Which brings me to the question, “How can I live until I die, and how can Torah help me to do that?” I’m thinking about my response to this question in relation to Parashat Bereshit, and the beginning of the Torah. Which feels like a perfect match for me. After all, the first few chapters of Genesis are all about creativity! The super-important beginning we read in the Torah is all about bringing into fruition the yearnings of the heart, in this case, G!d’s heart. But we humans, I think to myself, are meant to follow in G!d’s footsteps, to be partners with G!d in the ongoing task of creation, so it’s really about us, too.

I imagine in my mind the first Creation story, each section ending so poetically, “And there was evening, and there was morning, Day 1 (2, 3, 4, etc.).” This whole first narrative feels like a story meant to be told aloud, or a lyrical poem. It has never felt to me to be a scientific statement of how the world came to be. It is a dream, a soft and inviting watercolor painting, a multi-colored quilt, a grand dance. It is a beautiful myth.

The second Creation story, about Adam and Eve, for all its mythological content, feels more real to me, perhaps because it contains actual people and conversation, and an edge of fear. There are limits. We can’t do whatever we want. There are consequences to our actions.

And then, before we know it, Adam and Eve’s offspring are killing each other. The pain of the world outside my door has intruded into the lyricism with which the Torah began.

Taken together, these two stories provide the warp and weft of all that is woven into my life. To dream, I must. To experience poetry, lyricism, grand dance, and the soft blending of hues in the watercolor painting of life are crucial to my survival. This is the message from Elohim, G!d, in the first story. But to ignore all that is outside my door, to ignore the reality of limits - including the length of my days - is to bury my head in the sand and not be fully human. To try to pretend that I can live in Eden is to deny my own humanity and prevent my growth and development as one created b’tzlem elohim, in the image of the Mystery, as one member of the species homo sapiens. This is the message from Adonai, the Ineffable Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey, G!d, in the second story.

The Biblical historian can explain the origins of two separate creation stories. The scientist can give me facts and figures. But only my heart, working together with my mind and my soul, can bring together an understanding of both Elohim and Adonai in my life. Only my heart, working together with my mind and my soul, can decide that it is worth living until my body says it is time to die.

Ken y’hi ratzon, may it be so.

Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the founder and founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and 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, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the.singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.

 

The above are examples of Divrei Earth - spiritual wisdom from Earth and Torah, in the blog written by Rabbi Katy Allen and members and friends of Ma'yan Tikvah. 

 

Divrei Earth - literally words of Earth, provide reflections on the weekly Torah portion, as well as Earth Etudes for Elul, reflections in preparation for the New Year during the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah, and Counting the Omer, reflections on Earth and Torah from Passover to Shavuot.

 

CLICK HERE to view the blog, where you can subscribe to receive the posts via email.

 

 

Ma'yan Tikvah Makes the Globe!

Thank you to Lisa Wangsness at The Boston Globe for the fantastic article about Ma'yan Tikvah! Check it out here.

 

Help Protect and Save the Earth - 13 Tips

CLICK HERE to find 13 environmental tips with accompanying texts and commentary by Rabbi Katy Allen.

 

Watch at Eden Keeper

Webinar : A Transformation from Environamental Grief to Environmental Action

 

Watch Eden Keeper Webinar, "A Transformation from Environmental Grief to Environmental Action." During this half-hour video, Director Robin Purchia hosts Rabbi Katy and the two discuss grief, the management of feelings of loss, and how to tranform our dark inner places into joy and a spiritual connection to the environment. 

 

Link to YouTube Webinar

 

Link to Eden Keeper Website

 

Some Spiritual Tips

Are you feeling a bit blue? Wondering about meaning? Despairing about the state of the world? Here are a few suggestions to help yourself get re-grounded spiritually.

 

  • Find a spot outdoors where you can focus on the natural world. Even in the city, you can always look up at the sky. Pay attention to what you see. Let it speak to you. Let the image, sound, or smell enter deep into your being.
  • Draw a picture. It doesn't matter if you "know how to draw" or not. Simply focus on something meaningful to you and record something of what you see, in either an abstract form or something more representative.
  • Think back to a moment in nature from your childhood or youth. Record your memory in words or images.
  • Sit still in a quiet place. Breathe deeply. Image yourself enveloped in love and mercy, beneath the wings of the Shechinah, the Divine Presence.
  • Find a passage from a sacred text, in the broadest sense of the word, Torah or other Jewish texts, your favorite children's book, a poem, or whatever strikes you. Connect it to your experience in nature or your drawing or writing. Think about how the two enrich each other.
  • Call a friend to ask how he or she is doing.

Upcoming Outdoor Services & Other Events

 

Entering into Shabbat guided meditiations begin at 6:00 PM.

 

Shabbat Morning Walks start at 10:30 AM.

 

RSVP for dates, locations and Zoom links. 

 

 

 

Where to Find Us

 

Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope

Wayland, MA 

508.358.5996

rabbi@mayantikvah.org

 

www.mayantikvah.

blogspot.com

Affiliated with the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

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© Katy Z. Allen 2012