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.

16.08.2019
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Katy Allen As the afternoon wanes and Shabbat approaches, the less-than-familiar-for-most-of-us holiday of TuB'Av, the 15th of the month of Av, also nears it's end. There were no days of joy in Israel greater than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in borrowed white garments in order not to shame any one who had none...The daughters of Jerusalem come out and dance in the vineyards. What would they say? Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty but set your eyes on the family.  --Mishnah Ta'anit 4:8 For centuries, this holiday was marked only by the absence of penitential prayers during the morning service. But it modern-day Israel, it is becoming a holiday of LOVE. A little like Valentine's Day here. As a species, what love is more fundamental to our physical and spiritual well-being than our love of the Earth? We need the Earth. Our very existence is dependent upon it being a reliable source of food, air, water, and shelter. But if we only take, as with the human loved ones in our lives, the relationship is doomed to failure. And so, on this day of love, let us remember to give. When we prepare to make a purchase, let us ask, Is this action good for Earth and it's inhabitants?  If the answer is "yes," then go for it. If the answer is "no," let us consider an alternative action. When we prepare to vote, locally and on up, let us ask, Is this vote good for the Earth and it's inhabitants?  If the answer is "yes," then go for it. If the answer is "no," let us consider an alternative vote. When we prepare to travel, let us ask, Is this trip good for the Earth and it's inhabitants?  If the answer is "yes," then go for it. If the answer is "no," let us consider how to repair our action. When we prepare to do anything, from morning until evening, let us ask, Is this action good for Earth and it's inhabitants?  If the answer is "yes," then go for it. If the answer is "no," let us consider an alternative action. Let us bring this question into our lives as though it were a blessing, as though it were a prayer, and let us answer it with all honesty. Let us bring love for the Earth into every action we take. It deserves it. Tu B'Av sameach! Happy 15th of Av. Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain and now considers herself an eco-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. 
21.05.2019
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Benjamin Weiner At this time of year, two things coincide: the counting of the Omer and the planting of my crops. The Omer is the period of seven weeks that stretch between the second seder of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot. They represent the time that elapsed between the moment when the Israelites were finally free of their Egyptian bondage, and the moment when they stood at the foot of the holy mountain to receive Torah. We count them each year, as if journeying ourselves, once again, out of narrow conceptions and into a deeper understanding of our relationship with what is holy. According to mystical tradition, we mark these days by reference to seven of the kabbalistic sefirot, understood to be aspects or emanations of the divine, including, among others, abounding love, restricting firmness, splendor, endurance, and majesty. Beyond any single one of them, though, I am struck by how the totality of the system challenges us to relinquish the monomania that often passes for monotheism—inspiring us not to perceive the oneness of the divine as a simple, reductive dictatorship of any one single entity, but rather as the interactive tension of a multitude of forces held in balance. I am thinking of them this year, in particular, after reading the reporting surrounding the latest UN study on species extinction, which confirmed, in the starkest of terms, what those who are aware already knew. We are at the beginning of a “sixth extinction” in which human activity is driving a staggering number of species of fauna and flora out of existence. This is not simply a moral or aesthetic crisis but also imminently threatens the future of the clever biped that thinks it is running the show.  In the light of the sefirot, I see this crisis as perhaps the ultimate expression of a monomania subsittued for the sacred complexity of a whole and variegated fabric, and find myself wondering if there is, in fact, any way we can still escape from this Egypt, and toward a holier understanding of our relationship, as humans, to the holiness that is more than just us.  So, as I plant this season, seeking to draw my family's food, sustainably and regeneratively, from the earth entrusted to my care, I am paying special attention to the insect life and the bees, in their reduced number, as they zip around me, to the milkweed and wild clover, to the hawks overheard and the worms and rodents in the soil, to the cluster of bats that paid a call a few nights ago at sunset.  And I am thinking: whatever I find at Sinai this year, I hope it helps me, truly, to “choose life.” Rabbi Benjamin Weiner is the spiritual leader of the Jewish Community of Amherst.  He lives with his wife and son on their three-acre homestead.  
02.05.2019
Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope
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by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen Innermost is just a word, but with connections-- the Innermost Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies; the innermost recesses, the sanctuary of my heart. The sanctuary of my heart, an inner space, hidden; from whence emerge words-- deepest, innermost words. When a door slams shut, unrelenting silence rules; when a troubled mind overpowers, words tumble out, unchecked, shouting out pain, anger fear, despair-- the past controls. When pathways open wide abundance flows, words stream forth freely, sharing understanding, wisdom, courage and compassion-- the present reigns.  Innermost is just a word. The innermost recesses, the sanctuary of my heart-- that is another matter. דביר רק מילה, אבל עם קשרים-- דביר קודשך, דביר ביתך; דביר מִשְׁקָעִים, דביר לבי. דביר לבי, מקום פנימי, מוסתר; משם יוצאות מילים-- דיבור. כשדלת נטרקת ונסגרת, שקט אַכְזָרי שׁורר; כשדעה עכורה גוברת, מילים, לא מבוקרות, נוהרות החוצה, זועקות כאב, כעס, פחד, ייאוש-- העבר שולט. כששבילים  נפתחים בִרְחָבָה, שפע זורם, מילים מתגלגלותהחוצהבחופשיות, מפיצות הבנה, חכמה, אומץ ורחמים-- ההווה מולך . דביר רק מילה. דביר מִשְׁקָעִים,  דביר לבי-- זה דבר אחר. Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long, and the co-founder and President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network. She is a board certified chaplain and serves as an Eco-Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit, and is 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

 

Glacial Tour Shabbat Saturday, August 10

Grey Reservation, Sudbury

 

Wildlife Refuge Shabbat

Saturday, August 17

Great Meadows National

Wildlife Refuge, Sudbury

 

Open House for

Y'ladim BaTeva

Wed. Aug 29, 6:30 PM

Peace Lutheran Church

Wayland

Where to Find Us

 

Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope


237 Old Connecticut Path
Wayland, MA 01778

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