Wings (K’nafayim)

כנפיים

We are surrounded by winged creatures, from butterflies and bees, to hummingbirds to hawks. All are amazing, but since time immemorial birds in particular have inspired human beings with a dream of flying and freedom. They have always been part of human culture, religion and mythology. Birds and their wings figure in Biblical literature, such as the dove as a symbol of peace and safety, or the eagle as one of power and support. The fact that birds’ wings can bear them into the heavens gives them an association with divinity. Wings can symbolize nurturance, shelter and protection, or in the case of a butterfly, the possibility of utter transformation. The ubiquitous nature of winged creatures is an ever-present reminder of transcendence in everyday life.

Soar into the Gateway of Wings, as we explore the symbolism of birds and flying creatures in Jewish tradition and in your life.

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A Guide’s Perspective: Encounters With Birds

When I get too wrapped up in my merely human concerns, all I need to do is to look outside my window or take a walk in the park to enter a different world, the world of birds that surround us everywhere.  (In fact, I hear them chirping as I write this post). Here...

Doves and Eagles: Two Paradigms of Biblical Spirituality

Two of the most prominent birds in biblical tradition are very different in nature: the dove and the eagle. The gentle dove that dwells close to earth is an important symbol in Jewish and other ancient Near Easter religious traditions. After the Great Flood recorded...

Wings of Peace: Draw Water in Joy

Wings of Peace,  Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield  <http://rebaryeh.com/> This beautiful song in Hebrew and English by the late and much beloved Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield is about "drawing water in joy" (Isaiah 12:3) from the living well of God's spirit. After I listen to...

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...

Great Egret Takes Flight

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYJbaW2hmXI/?taken-by=wellsprings This is one of my favorite videos that I took of a bird: Great Egret taking flight across Swan Lake at Rockfeller State Park Preserve. Follow @wellsprings on Instragram for my nature photography and videos...

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....

Winged Insects as Soul Symbols

  Recently I got to see a "butterfly release" in the park. A woman and her daughter who grow a butterfly friendly garden, had raised Monarchs and were releasing them into their native habitat. From there, the butterflies would live for two weeks, but the third...

Swallows in Northern California

Swallows blending heaven and earth at Five Mile Bridge in Bidwell Park, in our former home in Chico, California. Their long pointed...

Gallery of Birds

I'm fascinated by birds and they are probably my most sought (and most challenging) subjects to photograph. Here are some favorite bird photos that I took, mostly at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Learn more about birding (birdwatching) and conservation...

Be Like the Bird (song and video)

  https://youtu.be/kEANteNY0h0 "Be Like the Bird" is a simple, exquisite song about the power of faith to bear us up, even when we lose the sense of a solid foundation beneath us.   At the end of a shiva service, my friend, Rabbi Pam Wax, in mourning after...

A Guide’s Perspective: It’s Not Always Easy Being a Dove

Bird metaphors as old as the Bible are still evocative today. When someone is favors fierce military actions, they are often called a "hawk," while one who prefers diplomacy and peace is called a "dove." The Dove has been a symbol of peace and security throughout 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: Wings

Are you a serious birder, a bird lover, or have you had any amazing encounters with a bird or birds? Do birds or other winged creatures have a special meaning or association in your life? Do you love butterflies, dragonflies, or other small creatures with wings? What...