What about weird contradictory cultural statements like, ‘I’m an atheist but I believe in a higher power’?” They’re an important message to hear at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year!
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How shall we think about Akedat Yitzchak — the “Binding of Isaac” — the story of Abraham’s readiness to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering to God (Genesis 22:1-19)? How can the story enhance our self-examination this Rosh Hashanah? The story does not make sense. God has fulfilled a promise; Abraham has satisfied a lifelong yearning. Abraham is now a father. Yet God asks Abraham to harm the […]
The Ba’al Shem Tov taught: Compassion is God’s revenge. Is this not a beautiful teaching for the Jewish New Year? God doesn’t avenge. God only loves. When God feels your pain, God pours more love into the world. So don’t bother praying for God to help you harm someone. You’ll have to find a different prayer. Maybe one that asks God to help others let go of their rage, fear, […]
At the Ranger Station in Glacier, WA, a slice of Douglas fir sits on a throne. Near it, an interpretive sign says: Growth rings spaced closely together indicate difficult growing periods, while rings spaced further apart indicate more prosperous seasons of development experienced by the tree. Oh, how I empathized! I’ve had difficult and prosperous times, too. Recalling them, I cried. I reached out to the tree, touching its thick-ringed centre. Such a strong heart! I touched […]
My husband and I are on a pilgrimage to Mt. Baker. Yes, a pilgrimage. There’s nothing else to call it. From our home 100 miles away, we watch the mountain every day. A glaciated volcano, white giant, heavenly being, silent witness, prophet with a steady message: “I am here.” Or maybe just, “I am.” On a pilgrimage, one should learn something. Something spiritual. Up close, Baker seems a different mountain. […]