As you prepare for Shabbat, I offer you this poem:
Instructions on Not Giving Up by Ada Limòn
"More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all."
It seems that the pink-frosting flowers that lined the sidewalks last week have dissolved into the slate sky Spring rains. And now everywhere I look, I see a canopy of bright green leaves ready to offer shady respite on the hot summer days just around the corner.
This has been a rainy, painful week. Regardless of how we understand its root and resolution, the violence in Gaza and Jerusalem has been heartbreaking. Among many things, this shabbat comes as "a return to the strange idea of continuous living despite the mess of us, the hurt, the empty."
For each of us, I hope that Shabbat and Shavuot will be a much-needed chance to unfurl; to experience ourselves as receptive; and to notice the new growth like revelation all around and within us.
Tomorrow morning we will be celebrating Shabbat and all of the amazing KT leaders that sustain our community.
Rabbi Ari Lev
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Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.