Air

 

אויר

Some say that the climate and geography of the Holy Land, with its seasonal rain and hilly terrain, drew our ancestors’ gazes heavenward. Air is completely pervasive and essential to life yet invisible. It is as close as our breath (in here) and as vast as the heavens (up there). Wind (Ruah רוח), air in motion, became the Hebrew word for Spirit and another name for the Divine: Ruah Ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit.

Through this portal are Gateways that explore symbols of air.

 

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Yield to the Moment and the Moment Yields to You

Rabbi Avin the Levite said: All who try to force the moment (literally, "the hour") the moment forces them, and all who yield to the moment, the moment yields to them.        כל הדוחק את השעה שעה דוחקתו וכל הנדחה מפני השעה שעה נדחת מפניו Talmud Berakhot 64a   I'm...

Musar: Ethical Development as an Ascent

Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair says, "Heedfulness leads to cleanliness, cleanliness leads to purity, purity leads to separation, separation leads to holiness, holiness leads to modesty, modesty leads to fear of sin, fear of sin leads to piety, piety leads to the Holy Spirit,...

Light as a Feather

I was in the car from the airport to my annual rabbinic conference in Colorado. Whenever I go to an event like this, I try to set an intention, a kavannah, to guide me during the experience. At the time, I was feeling a heavy preoccupation with career and personal...

A Daily Spirit of Gratitue

Modah Ani 12, chant by Rabbi Shefa Gold Ruach also means "Spirit." Rabbi Shefa Gold has composed 36* chants for "Modah Ani," I am thankful, the short prayer of gratitude recited upon awakening each morning. These chants are free to download and also available in a...

Going Up and Coming Down the Mountain

While most people have peak experiences at one time or another, there are two challenges: their rarity and their evanescence. Peak experiences may be rare and fleeting "highs" lost in the rush of events and the passage of time. But if we can integrate them as part of...

Moses’ Peak Experience, Beholding the Divine Presence

In Exodus 33-34, Moses asks to behold God's presence, literally, "to see God's face." God responds that Moses can see God's "back" only, because no one can behold God face-to-face and live. Moses then ascends Mount Sinai alone, stands in a cleft of a rock and receives...

Torah Study: Peak Experiences in the Bible

The Bible has many references to important experiences associated with mountains: Moriah, Sinai, Nebo, Carmel, Tabor, and so on (most of them on the scale of hills). Here are four biblical themes associated with mountains and ascent: Test "God tested Abraham, and said...

A Peak Experience on a Peak in Jerusalem

During one of my first visits to Jerusalem, on Tu Bishvat, the early spring New Year of Trees, my then fiance Avraham and I climbed the stairs to a rooftop on a building in Mount Zion, in the Old City. The feeling evoked my childhood ascents to "the bluff," a small...

Moroccan Chant of Psalm 24

  Traditional Moroccan Jewish chant, sung by my husband Avraham Danan Who shall ascend into the mountain of the LORD? And who shall stand in God's holy place? One clean of hands and pure of heart . . . Psalm 24    Featured Image: By Tommy from Arad (Chebicka...

Tzedakah for Mountain People (and others)

People living in the Himalayan mountain range have the highest rates of blindness in the world. This may be the result of genetic predisposition, high altitude, sunlight, diet, or a combination of all these factors. The amazing Himalayan Cataract Project brings high...

Autumn Gallery

Here are some beautiful scenes from Autumn at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. They document the season from its early pastels and oranges to the golden peak, though an early snowfall and into bare branches. All photos by Julie Hilton Danan. Return to the...

Tikkun Olam: The Audubon Society and Bird Conservation

We've heard the expression, "a canary in a coal mine," to make a metaphor of the way in which birds can serve as indicators of toxic environments. Although canaries are no longer carried into mines to test for carbon monoxide, the fates of birds and other winged...

Sharing Circle: Mountains

Peak Experiences Have you had an experience of trial, vision, spirituality or exaltation in a mountain environment? Have you had a "peak" experiences (at any altitude)? What was it like? Do you have any practice or do anything to nurture peak experiences? If you have...

Sephirah: Reviewing Your Life in Seven Year Cycles

Years ago, I learned from the late Rabbi David Wolfe-Blank about a spiritual practice of reviewing one's life in seven year increments, a Sephirah (counting) of life. It's a great exercise to do around your birthday or anytime you want to take stock. The Shmittah or...

AGAMI (a poem)

AGAMI by Steve Margolin Shlayma Zalman! Huh? Shlayma Zalman! I am here. Go to the bridge. An agami is there. An agami? At the bridge? Where Clear Creek runs, its west branch? The bridge where the agami is. It is downstream. An agami heron? You know, Agamia agami? Yes....

Sharing Circle: Seasons

Do you have a favorite season? What do you love about it? What about the season of life you are experiencing right now? What lessons and gifts does it offer? Please comment in this Sharing Circle to get the conversation started about the seasons of our lives. Featured...

A Shabbat Experience: Relax in a Hammock

A hammock is the perfect place to hear the wind. In the hammock between two oak trees at our ranch in the Texas Hill Country, I imagined the wind in the branches as the echo of the long-gone ocean that had flowed there millions of years ago. Near Mt. Lassen,...

Turn, Turn, Turn

What better way to hear "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" then this clip from 1966 featuring the composer Pete Seeger playing with Judy Collins (even as she gets stuck on the lyrics at one point, it only makes it more charming and nostalgic). The...

Why Does the Wind Blow?

    Learn some Torah about the power of wind, or return to the Gateway of Wind

Splitting the Sea with Wind

Picture the splitting of the Reed (or Red) Sea. Based on the movie versions, we tend to visualize Moses raising his staff, so that the waters part instantly—supernatural special effects! But the Torah (Exodus 14:21), offers a more naturalistic depiction of the...