Evening in the Field

Dear Friends,

There is a heavy sorrow resting in the consciousness of our community this week. We’ll evening into Shabbat with the pain of the loss, violence and hate of the attack in Pittsburgh, and in Kentucky. And on the horizon lies an election under the government of an evil tyrant who is ruining humanity in fear and hate.

It’s fitting then that we might be experiencing moments of fear. The attack in Pittsburgh is a trigger for the psyche of Jewish consciousness. The collective consciousness of the tribe has experienced so much hate and violence throughout the course of history, such that any event of anti-semitism and violence is also a reminder of the pogroms, the inquisitions, the holocaust, our people faced. A large part of the collective psyche is so traumatized by old wounds, it appreciates these modern tragedies, because they substantiate the vision for segregated societies.

In the Kabbalistic tradition, which really is a discipline of psychological map-making, Isaac is the ancestor associated with fear because of the role he plays at the Binding of Isaac. Imagine the fear of a child tied atop an altar, facing death in the face of his father. Imagine the trauma that would be sown into his life, and the life of his children. Imagine all the Jewish parents and children who were killed in acts of anti-semitism, and the trauma passed into generations.

We are living in a new age though. Our culture’s tolerance for hate and discrimination of any kind is crumbling; a renaissance of compassion is coming. The circle of concern will include every human being, and our generation will fight to tear down the structural injustices that oppress minorities of any kind.

Part of that work will include healing the traumas of the past, the sins of our ancestors, the consciousness of a humanity that has seen slavery and holocaust. How do we heal? How do we allow fear to assume its rightful, but limited place in the psyche?

In the story, Isaac went out to evening in the field before dark, and he lifted his eyes over the desert. He saw the well of a vision of life. That’s the name of Isaac’s well, a vision of life. That kind of gazing, at a horizon, into self, you can call it meditation, contemplation, prayer, or just being in nature. It heals because the peace that permeates in those states, allows the psyche to reconstitute its wholeness. Peace, wholeness, blessing. He is always in the field at evening, praying, whole-ing, waiting, for the beloved who arrives at twilight.

We are to go and find wholeness each in our own ways -- ten thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground. With an oud, with a pen, with a fishing rod, a bowling ball or a baking pin. We are to go and evening in the fields of the city, from there, we look up.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zach

The New ShulComment