Today is Rosh Hodesh Kislev, the first day of the month of Kislev. Kislev, according to the mystical text Sefer Yetzirah, is the month of dreams, when the sun sleeps, when roots sleep deep in the earth. And when we are called to sleep and dream more than usual. The rabbis of the Talmud say that a dream is one sixtieth of prophecy and that an uninterpreted dream is like an unread letter.
The Talmud even provides a ceremony to interpret one's dreams and turn a bad dream into a good one. The dreamer convenes a beit din, "a court of three," and this improvised court declares that the dream is a good dream, thus nullifying any of its ill effects. You can even find such a practice in an orthodox prayerbook. And I have myself participated in such a court.
As we move away from the intensity of this election season and the nightmare of Pittsburgh, we can draw wisdom from this ancient practice. It is time to nullify its ill effects. As we gather this Shabbat, imagine we are ourselves convening this improvised court to reinterpret what this moment can mean for all of us. It is time to turn inward toward the quiet darkness of winter, to let our bones rest, to dream up the world as we want it.
Let this new month inspire a season of dreaming, of turning from what is, to what is possible. I offer you this song, offered to me by Sam Shain, as a gift to get you ready for Shabbat. I am honored to be known by the company that we keep at Kol Tzedek.
Hodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom!
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.