#FamiliesBelongTogether, and what we can do
Cultivating hope

Approaching the Three Weeks

Jerusalem_Western_Wall_stonesSunday will be the 17th of the lunar month of Tamuz, the day when we enter the period known as the Three Weeks. I haven't had the spaciousness to write something new about the spiritual journey of this season this year, so here are two posts from previous years that I hope will still resonate.

The first one is a post about moadim -- "festivals" or "appointed-times" -- of closeness to our Source, and moadim of distance from our Source. Times when God feels near, and times when God feels far away. That language comes from R' Shlomo Wolbe, known as the Alei Shur:

...In the Alei Shur's language, [the Three Weeks] are a moed of distance. They're balanced by the three weeks from Rosh Hashanah to Shemini Atzeret, a moed of closeness and drawing-near. Our calendar gives us three bitter weeks, and three sweet ones... and we need to experience them both. The soul gets "out of whack" otherwise. It's not healthy to marinate only in sorrow all year long, or to allow ourselves only to feel joy all year long. Both of those extremes are spiritually damaging. We need the both / and...

Read the whole post here: Days of closeness, days when God feels far away (2017).

And the second is a post about how the Three Weeks lead us to Tisha b'Av, which in turn is our springboard toward the High Holidays:

...There is a deep wisdom in the way the Jewish calendar unfolds. Our festivals and fast days are waypoints along the journey we travel each year. 17 Tamuz marks the beginning of the descent toward Tisha b'Av. At Tisha b'Av, we mark the beginning of the ascent toward the Days of Awe. // In Hasidic tradition there's the idea that often in order to rise, one first has to fall. Yeridah tzorech aliyah: one has to go down in order to be able to go up. Descent for the sake of ascent...

Read the whole post here: The fast of Tamuz (2014).

May we all find the inner resources we need to do the spiritual work of this season anew this year, and may our inner work impel us in turn to the outer work of creating justice in the world.


(Local folks: here's a save-the-date for my synagogue's observance of Tisha b'Av on July 21. All are welcome.)