I recently got a great book in the mail, The Avian Rebbe Stretches His Wings. It’s the second in a series by bird photographer and Torah teacher/student, Aaric Eisenstein. known as the Avaian Rebbe for finding wisdom in the beauty of our feathered friends. The Talmud says that we can learn Torah from every creature, and Aaric brings this to life in his creative teachings.
I was honored to provide an approbation (fancy word for a book blurb) for the work of this true kindred spirit who, like Wellsprings of Wisdom, loves to discover the everyday connections between Nature and Torah. Anyone who adores birds, bird photography, and meaningful wisdom for life will be sure to enjoy the Avian Rebbe’s newsletter and his posts on Facebook or Instagram. (There’s also a podcast and videos…) I’m frankly in awe at Aaric’s ability to produce such consistent and meaningful content, although he might say that the birds bring it on their wings and he just receives and transmits it as a gift from the Source of All.
“Be Grounded. Fly High.” is the the Avian Rebbe’s motto, and I’m sure that you will enjoy his teachings and beautiful photography as much as I do.
Learn more about the meaning of birds in Jewish tradition in the Gateway of Wings.
When I get too wrapped up in my merely human concerns, all I need to do is to look outside my window or take a walk in the park to enter a different world, the world of birds that surround us everywhere. (In fact, I hear them chirping as I write this post). Here are a few of my favorite recent moments when I opened my eyes and ears to birds.
Two of the most prominent birds in biblical tradition are very different in nature: the dove and the eagle. (more…)
I was in the car from the airport to my annual rabbinic conference in Colorado. Whenever I go to an event like this, I try to set an intention, a kavannah, to guide me during the experience. At the time, I was feeling a heavy preoccupation with career and personal concerns. Suddenly, an intention came to mind: “I would like to take myself more lightly.”
by Steve Margolin
Recently I got to see a “butterfly release” in the park. A woman and her daughter who grow a butterfly friendly garden, had raised Monarchs and were releasing them into their native habitat. From there, the butterflies would live for two weeks, but the third generation would live for eight months and migrate from New York’s Hudson River to a mountain top in Mexico that they had never seen or known. (more…)
Swallows blending heaven and earth at Five Mile Bridge in Bidwell Park, in our former home in Chico, California.
Bird metaphors as old as the Bible are still evocative today. When someone is favors fierce military actions, they are often called a “hawk,” while one who prefers diplomacy and peace is called a “dove.” The Dove has been a symbol of peace and security throughout the centuries, since the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark, in which the Dove returns to Noah with an olive branch in her beak.
But while the fierce hawk symbolizes courage, the gentle dove often needs it too. Peacemaking is often an unpopular path.
We’ve heard the expression, “a canary in a coal mine,” to make a metaphor of the way in which birds can serve as indicators of toxic environments. (more…)
Are you a serious birder, a bird lover, or have you had any amazing encounters with a bird or birds? Do birds or other winged creatures have a special meaning or association in your life?
Do you love butterflies, dragonflies, or other small creatures with wings?
What do birds or flying insects symbolize to you? Freedom, flight, transformation, home?