This past Sunday morning, I rode my cargo bike to the Kol Tzedek office to pick up a box of weekday prayer books for a shiva minyan and the Torah for a baby naming ceremony. I knew both lifecycle events were in the neighborhood and I planned to courier the ritual items. It was not until I arrived in the back alley where the shiva minyan was gathered that I fully realized that the baby naming was exactly across the street, in a parallel alley. I stayed for a few minutes as family members and KT members gathered to say Kaddish. And then I rode my bike across the street, where another gaggle of KT members were preparing to welcome a new baby into community and covenant.
Each of the gatherings were beautiful unto themselves. But knowing they were both happening simultaneously, filled me up completely. Cosi revaya - my cup overflows.
Yehuda Amichai writes in his poem "A person in his life",
A person in his life has no time to have
Time for everything.
He has no room to have room
For every desire. Ecclesiastes was wrong about that.
A person has to hate and love all at once,
With the same eyes to cry and to laugh
With he same hands to throw stones
And to gather them...
If this is true for a person, how much more so for a community. I am in awe of our ability "with the same eyes to cry and to laugh." To comfort mourners and welcome babies. To pray for healing and dance a hora, all at once.
This year has been full to the brim, often overflowing, with grief and joy. Together we have stretched ourselves to honor the fullness of life, often all at once. Daily I learn from this community the profound and sustaining gifts that come from being connected to a web of care and connection. You all help me to feel there is time for everything. Thank you!
Today, in addition to being the last day of June, is also the first day of the month of Tammuz. The new moon brings with it the possibility of everything. As I prepare to take some time off, that is what I want to bless you with. Everything.
May the month of Tammuz and the summer days ahead bring renewal. May you be blessed with a life of goodness. A life of nourishment, and a life of sustenance. A life of healing and of good health. A life in which you experience awe for the Divine and a love of Torah. A life free from shame and full of integrity, honor, and clarity of mind. A life in which you continue to have the courage to cry and to laugh, to care for others and be cared for.
May it be so.
And may we go from strength to strength.
Hodesh Tov! Happy Summer! Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Ari Lev
You can search Rabbi Ari Lev's blog below:
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.