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Just added a cool animation to the Gateway of the Moon. When you click on it, it will take you to a page on Wikipedia that explains the phases of the moon. (The animation is a public domain gif file from that page.)
New Pathway (post) in the Gateway of the Moon! Learn how the Moon’s cycles relate to Jewish time and history, and to cycles of personal renewal.
Although most of my updates are about adding new Gateways (content pages) and Pathways (posts), Wellsprings is also a bit like a garden that needs regular trimming, and planting to keep it thriving. Today I’ve updated the listings of retreat centers and outdoor adventure programs, and added some information on Urban Adamah, a Jewish farm in Berkeley, California, to pathway post about community gardens.
Thank you to the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem for permission to repost Melila Hellner-Eshed’s in-depth exploration of the development of an ancient Jewish legend about the moon. Previously I was only linking to this fascinating article, but now you can read the whole thing here on Wellsprings, illustrated with great moon photos and a painting by Marc Chagall. Enjoy!
Creative Commons photos are linked back to their original sites so that you can explore the work of that photographer. Remember, you can see photo credits on hover, except for the large “Featured Images” for each post, which are credited and linked (where applicable) at the foot of each post.
More Moon Lore: Gateway of the Moon
If you enjoy the nature photography on Wellsprings of Wisdom, I invite you to follow Wellsprings on Instagram. All of the photos(and videos) there are my personal work–or should I say, play? I share them in the hope of helping people to see the world with new eyes, to appreciate the beauty of our natural world (and some of our human creations) and our capacity to enjoy it all as a divine gift.
The New Moon tonight signals the beginning of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan חֶשְׁוָן begins tonight. (This is the month with no holidays, right after Tishre תִּשְׁרֵי which has the most holidays.) In honor of Rosh Hodesh, the celebration of the New Month, enjoy a beautiful song, Rosh Hodesh Moon, by Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael. It’s the second post in the new Gateway of the Moon.
I’m just emerging from the busy Fall Holiday season to launch a new Gateway page: Gateway of the Moon. The Jewish calendar, many rituals and colorful legends center on the Moon. This Gateway has just started, so check back to watch it grow and to learn about the meaning of the moon in Jewish tradition and as a symbol for the changes and cycles of our own lives.
As a congregational rabbi, this is my busiest time of year, so new posts may be a bit slow in the coming weeks. However, you can find several holiday related posts on Wellsprings of Wisdom that I hope will add to the meaning of the season for you.
Learn about the meaning of the Shofar and listen to the call of a shofar blown outdoors. Take it deeper by learning how the shofar is used as a symbol of justice, social activism and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).
Other posts highlight outdoor, nature-based rituals of the season, such as the Rosh Hashanah custom of Tashlich, “casting off sins” into a flowing stream. Learn about the custom here. I also share about a personal tashlich ritual that I created to deal with a difficult life transition, and share photos of the beautiful Northern California creek where I performed it. While on the subject of Tashlich, enjoy a poem about a creek, “Today is Forever,” translated from Yiddish of Malka Heifetz Tussman by Marcia Falk, and shared from her wonderful book for the season, The Days Between (linked in the post).
After the Days of Awe (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) comes Sukkot, the harvest festival, which focuses on life out of doors by dwelling in a hut called a sukkah. Here is a post about the sukkah and the holiday and its symbolism. The post links to holiday retreats in the US East and West coasts.
Wishing everyone blessings of a Shanah Tovah! Be written and sealed in the Scroll of Life for a good and sweet New Year.
In the month of Elul, leading up the Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, it is traditional to blow the shofar daily (except Shabbat). Here Rabbi Sarah Leah Grafstein sounds the ram’s horn in the awesome setting of the Grand Canyon. The shofar calls us to awaken, arise, return to our true nature and mission in life. This is also a time to prepare for the new year by giving tzedakah (charity, righteous giving), mending relationships, remembering the departed, and doing an “accounting of the soul” (cheshbon hanefesh), meaning self-reflection in preparation for the New Year. Rosh Hashanah starts this year on Wednesday evening, September 20.
It is traditional to read Psalm 27 daily to build our faith and confidence. Here is a wonderful translation by my teacher, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi of blessed memory. And here is a recording of him reading it.