Tikkun Hayam, Repair the Sea is a Jewish organization that I support, whose mission is “to share the spiritual wonders of water and the Sea from a Jewish perspective, and to raise awareness and encourage action to address the many threats facing the aquatic environment.” They teach and educate about the importance of water to all of life as well as Jewish tradition, and offer programs such as “Reverse Tashlich” beach cleanups, planting corals in Israel, and teaching scuba diving. Enjoy this video made earlier this year by Tikkun HaYam about the meaning of water in Jewish tradition, along with some good news about coral reefs, and keep learning more about Jewish lore of the Sea in the Gateway of The Sea.
My friends, singing duo “The Levins” (pronounced Le-VINS) just wrote a beautiful and heartfelt song in the spirit of Yom Kippur and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. And they asked to use my videos made here at the Delaware beaches. I hope you find this meaningful:
Cellist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma speaks about the “edge,” the natural or cultural place where environments intersect, as one that always has more life forms and new life forms. Bach taught him to balance going to his center and to the edge. In cultural interactions and dialogue, it’s good to be centered and it’s also good to reach out, edge to edge, to touch something new. Photos by Julie Hilton Danan, Israel, 2018. Return to the Gateway of the Sea.
The great German Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweigsaid that we relate to and experience God in three ways: Creation, Revelation, and Redemption. The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)’s depictions of the Sea encompass all three themes, and add one that he left out: destruction.
It’s a Jewish spiritual practice to say a berachah, a blessing, when experiencing an awesome, beautiful, or startling sight (or sound like thunder, or delicious scent) in nature. When I suddenly get to that first view of the ocean, I always catch my breath at the grandeur and beauty of the sight. All of my senses are opened up by the vista, the crash of the waves, the fresh ocean air.
Rabbi Joshua of Sachnin said in the name of Rabbi Levi, “To what should we compare the Tent of Meeting [that Moses set up in the desert]? To a cave on the seashore. When the tide rises and the sea floods the cave, the sea is not diminished. Thus the Tent of Meeting was filled with the Shechinah (the Divine Presence).”
ר’ יהושע דסכנין בשם ר’ לוי למה היה אוהל מועד דומה למערה שהיא נתונה על שפת הים ועלהים והציף המערה נתמלאת מן הים והים לא חסר כך אוהל מועד נתמלא מזיו השכינה
Picture the splitting of the Reed (or Red) Sea. Based on the movie versions, we tend to visualize Moses raising his staff, so that the waters part instantly—supernatural special effects! But the Torah (Exodus 14:21), offers a more naturalistic depiction of the miracle, one that involves wind: (more…)
I learned “Ocean Breath” from a wonderful yoga teacher, Marcia (Me-esha) Albert, at the original Elat Chayyim retreat center in Accord New York (now incorporated into Isabella Freedmanretreat center). Based on yogic foundations, this breathing technique takes a little practice, but I find that it can have a very calming effect. I think of it like a portable beach that I can carry around when I need to relax or re-energize. (more…)
I am captivated by the reflections of sky in a lake,* especially when sky and water seem to merge. On a spiritual level, it reminds me that in each of our souls is a reflection of the divine, thetzelem Elohim.We can perceive the reflection of what is “above” most easily when our consciousness is calm and clear, a state nurtured by regular prayer, meditation, and spiritual practice.
Enjoy these lake reflections from Wellspring on Instagram. (Plus one from a friend who is a Pastor in California.) Sometimes it’s hard to tell water from sky! I suggested pausing to contemplate each picture for a few moments of “reflection.”
Famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle explains that just a few decades ago, human beings imagined that the world’s oceans were so vast, there was no way that humanity could harm them. The ocean was seen as bottomless basket of resources for humanity, providing us with everything from fossil fuels to fish. (more…)