The Internal Process of Redemption

In the Tree of Life, the Kabbalist model of existence, the very center of human experience is the Sefirah of Tiferet, the level of the heart. The heart is seen as the core of our conscious connection with the world and with our lives in it. The heart is the psycho-emotional nexus that serves as the soul’s platform for being present in physical reality and acting out life purpose.

In other words, as sentient beings in the world, the Kabbalah sees the heart as our full conscious presence. We are totally present and conscious in life, only if we are operating effectively from the heart. Our experience in the world, our ability to receive from it and our work within it are all based on the combination of mind and emotion operating together from the heart perspective.

Full human consciousness in the world is understood to be the melding and balance of mind and emotion, which occur at the level of the heart. Being fully human means to be heart based and centeredness in the heart involves an internal balancing of thought and emotion.

The Kabbalist view is that one’s soul engages life through the heart. To be fully oneself and be present in life requires clarity, which in turn involves experiencing day-to-day existence specifically from an unencumbered psycho-emotional position. That is, being balanced mentally and emotionally in the heart centers us  and makes life a clear,  unobstructed reality. It is a way of being in the world and within ourselves at the same time to the highest degree possible. Being centered in Tiferet is the path of open heartedness, acceptance and compassion.

It is not hard for us to be thrown off course in life, if our heart energy is adversely effected, because we have lost our natural, internal center of gravity. Whatever encumbers or burdens the heart immediately impairs our ability to function as ourselves in the world. What shackles the heart is imbalance and the disruption of focus.

In order to understand this, we need to remember that the heart level, Tiferet is flanked on the left and right by four other Sefirot. Surrounding Tiferet are the Sefirot of Hesed, Gevurah, Netzakh and Hod. These are the forces of mind and emotion, in human terms. When functioning properly they support and give added expression to the heart’s energy. When out of balance, however, healthy psycho-emotional function is either thrown off track or worse, distorted.

Overemphasis or excessive focus on any or all of these levels can create a bondage of the heart, a restriction of the heart’s function and a distinct loss of psychological and emotional equilibrium. A heavy concentration of energy in one Sefirah leads to a depletion of energy in another, which invariably creates serious impairment and resulting malfunction, first in the heart and subsequently in the whole of one’s conscious existence. One’s life is no longer optimal. One is not free to be oneself, because the condition of balance has been undermined.

For example, taking on the concerns of others constantly is a distortion within Hesed. Excessive concern with one’s own issues is a malfunction in Gevurah. Not being able to sufficiently distinguish one’s own emotions from those of other people is a problem in Netzakh and harsh, incessant, internal self-judgment is a curse created in Hod. These are all distortions within the realms surrounding Tiferet. They have very detrimental effects that are all constrictive, impairing our ability to be truly heart centered and thereby fully oneself in life.

If we cannot fully live our lives, unable to be ourselves because the heart center is damaged, then we as individuals are under very serious constraint. Our ability to completely express who we are is being compromised due to the malfunction at our center. So, to a large extent our ability to fulfill our life purpose is under siege and we are in battle within ourselves. We are imprisoned by our own malfunctioning system.

How does one emancipate Self from the bondage of psychological and emotional imbalance and the chains it places on our being? The answer is through the process of Internal Redemption.

The basic meaning of the term “redeem” is to rescue something or someone through the act of purchase. In Kabbalist thought, one of the chief connotations of “redeem” is to restore someone to his or her original state. Energy therefore is exerted to rectify a state of denigration and re-establish the person’s integrity.

Redemption is not the healing process, though healing is often a decided effect. Redemption is not emancipation. Becoming free is the platform on which redemption can take place, but the redemption itself is the process of restoring an individual’s freedom of complete self-expression. Redemption is the return of a positive sense of self and the re-instatement of full function as a soul operating in the world.

When our heart has been burdened, weighed down, constrained or shut down, redemption is the process of readjusting the balance between thought and feeling. It is the realignment of the mind and the emotions, so that they become a united, inner harmony, a balanced ebb and flow of psycho-emotional interplay. That is the sign of a healthy, heart-based individual, who is fully and consciously present in the world and in the moment.

So, how is this accomplished?

The key is in the center pillar of the Tree. To regain the centrality of the heart, to bring back a reality of heart-based existence, requires reversing the displacement of energy that has taken place.

To engage the areas of overload directly either will exacerbate or possibly complicate the problem. At best, if a solution can be created by working through the problem areas, it will be a complex one. One is dealing with a bewildering array of variables and interactions that occur at this level, between Hesed, Gevurah, Netzakh and Hod.

To effectively bring Tiferet back into balance primarily involves drawing on the spiritual plane and allowing ones own inner light and wisdom to emanate down from the depths of one’s being, from the hidden realm of Keter, Khochmah and Binah.

The spiritual force of the soul, when one deliberately connects with it, will reach the heart directly and re-align it with life purpose as a matter of course. The resulting restoration of the heart will then redistribute the energy and bring all of the surrounding Sefirot back to normal function and harmony. The soul has to be called to redeem the heart. The heart redeemed, then rectifies the energy balance and flow within the surrounding realms. It simply does not work the other way around.

As the Kabbalists would say, this is a great mystery and one should ponder it very carefully.

Rabbi Fisdel

April 2011

 

The True Dynamics of Prayer

There are times in the course of our lives, when circumstances impel us to talk to God directly, to pray from the depths of our souls and to express our thoughts and emotions freely, outside the context of formal prayer. We feel the need to pray to God in a straightforward, personal, intimate manner.

When attempting to do so, we experience one of the most difficult aspects of personal prayer; formulating a starting point. If one is seeking to express themselves to God directly from the heart, the hardest part of the process is knowing where exactly to begin.

The true beginning of prayer is not knowing what to say. If one is coming to stand before God, what is there to say? What can we tell God, that God does not already know? Faced with the realization of how vast the universe is, we are often overwhelmed and speechless. How much more so, are we overcome with awe and humbled, when we approach the Creator of the Universe?

In human perception, the distance between God and man can often appear to be so vast, that God seems unapproachable or remote. Under such conditions, prayer would seem to be of no value nor of any purpose. One cannot get close to God, if God is so distant as to be felt to be beyond reach. This view of our relationship to God is really not workable. If one clings to the perception that God is remote and unreachable, there is really nowhere to go.

Prayer is best understood in different terms. Prayer, in Jewish tradition, is not meant to be recited per se. Rather, prayers are meant to be expressed. Prayer should not be relegated to mere verbal explanation or to the reciting of doctrine. True prayer is the meditation of the heart. Prayer, in its essence, is affirmation of our intimate relationship with God.

In the days when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, worship was the act of sacrifice. In acknowledgement for what God had provided, or in acceptance of God’s Will, or in admission of a mistake, one would give something back to God. The offering could be the first fruits of the field. It could be a harvest offering, part of the bounty one received. What one offered to God was one’s most prized possession. One gave something of himself or herself.

The sacrifices were prescribed in detail by biblical law. God set down quite a number of Mitzvot regarding the exact nature of each of the sacrifices. The prayers recited were supplemental to the act of offering the sacrifice. Prayer was left up to the individual to express. King David wrote prayers and psalms to God from his own personal experience. The Levites in the Temple composed the liturgy themselves. The prophets and seers created songs and poems to God, throughout the Biblical period. As occasions arose, and the people were overcome by joy and thanksgiving, prayer was created spontaneously. This tradition extends all the way back to Moses and Miriam.

True prayer is the expression of heartfelt emotion. It is our dialogue with God. Whether we choose to put our hearts and souls into the prayers of the traditional liturgy, or whether we create our own, whether we meditate on the words of others or put our feelings into the wordless melodies of Niggunim, the same objective is being accomplished. We are reconnecting with God, through emotional reaffirmation.

We are affirming our essence as created beings by allowing ourselves to express our sense of self, our sense of thanksgiving and our sense of joy. We are open to communicating our exhilaration as created essences, directly to the Creator. By opening our hearts, we sing, we articulate, we rejoice and we connect with that which is at the heart of all existence, God’s Love and God’s Presence in the World.

To pray fully, is to allow the soul to open up and to reaffirm its connection with God, by honoring the experiences of one’s life. It is in the day to day world that we learn about ourselves. It is in the mundane realm of everyday life, that we experience joy and sadness, hope and disappointment, success and failure. What exalts these events and makes them important, are two factors; how we understand them and how we express them.

By expressing our feelings and emotions to God directly and by articulating our needs and our perceptions, we spiritualize our experience and elevate it to the level of holiness. We exalt our life, by elevating our life experience to the level of communication with God. That is why prayer followed sacrifice. From the doing, comes the understanding. From the understanding comes the joy. From the joy come the exaltation and the gratitude.

When we can drop the ego, and fall back to the point of true humility, when we are not too proud or too stubborn to talk to God, directly, heart to heart, then we give real meaning to our lives. Through true prayer, that which is heartfelt and consciously focused, we spiritualize our earthly existence. We transcend the plane of mundane consciousness and ascend to the higher realms of being, when we choose to live our lives as dialogues with God.
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To achieve communion with God, we must understand and offer prayer in its truest form, as emotional affirmation and as dialogue with God. We need to structure our lives as perpetual expressions of that interaction, which is the essence of prayer, thereby elevating the experiential content and spiritual awareness of our earthly existence. Let our prayers be like rivers, that well up from deep beneath the surface and create their own paths as they grow and extend toward their source.

Rabbi Steven Fisdel

The Two Sides of Spiritual Experience

As souls, the very core of our being is our spiritual essence, the divine spark of infinite light that is who we truly are as reflections of God. From that holy place, all the manifestations of self emerge and are sustained.

In the view of the Kabbalah, all levels of consciousness are interrelated and all emerge from the exact same source, namely from the soul. So, everything that expresses who we are is actually an extension of our essence. Our minds, our emotions and our bodies are all projected realities revealing different dimensions of the soul. Our mental, emotional and physical lives are all derivatives of the spirit seeking to express itself fully.

It is not at all difficult for us to understand experience as what is happening to us, what is transpiring in our lives and how we are relating to it. After all, our physical experience and our emotional responses to it constitute life as we are living it.

What is somewhat more difficult to grasp is the realization that our thoughts, reflections and perceptual patterns also constitute experience. A direct and abiding connection exists between what is transpiring in our lives , what we are feeling about it and what we believe. It is the mind that constructs the context of our reality. It is our thoughts and our beliefs that impart order and give meaning to life.

The decisions we make that direct our lives and that have such impact on us and on everyone around us are all predicated on the conceptual framework that we hold internally. So, our minds are intimately tied to our emotions and our external reality as an integral part of our overall life experience. We live our lives consciously through the interplay of physical stimulus and interaction with the world, through emotional response and through the learning process. This triad of experiential realities forms the very basis of life as we know and understand it.

The question then arises; if the events in our lives, our emotional responses to them and what we conclude from them constitute our life experience,then what exactly is spiritual experience per se? the answer to this question is straightforward in statement, yet complex in its implications.

In Kabbalist teaching, the soul is the origin of mind, emotion and physical being in the world. Soul itself is hidden. Yet, it is knowable through its extension of these three capacities. The realm of spirit with all its inner dynamics is hidden within, just as a tree’s roots are buried in the earth. From the roots, a tree’s trunk, branches and leaves emerge and interact with the world around it. The same process holds true for mental, emotional and physical consciousness. They emanate as extensions of the soul.

A tree standing tall in the external world is effected directly by its environment and by what is happening in the natural world surrounding it. Though not necessarily openly exposed, the roots of the tree are just as heavily impacted. The roots are not only part of the tree, they are the foundational level.

On the same token, since the soul is the root of all consciousness in the world, everything we experience in our lives impacts us spiritually. We live from the soul and our overall life experience reflects back the spiritual energy being put forth and played out. So, it can be said that spiritual experience is essentially the effect that life experience has on the soul.

Spiritual consciousness emanates out into the world as mental, emotional and physical process. This process, we refer to as life. We live life through these dimensions of soul.  Through the process of living, we give conscious expression to the soul, which in turn absorbs and assimilates the energy. As the soul takes in the experience of our lives, it transforms it into spiritual experience. It translates and reformulates what we have experienced cognitively and emotionally into essential knowledge of self. the soul absorbs what is of essence and important to it as pure spiritual content.

This level of spiritual experience is primal and central to the very mystery of life itself. The process of transforming life experience into spiritual essence occurs at the deepest levels of consciousness, totally and completely hidden from our view and our awareness.

There is, however, another aspect to spiritual experience that not only can we access, but we are actually meant to connect with and be deeply effected by it. This dimension of spiritual experience has multiple facets and its purpose is to specifically expand and elevate consciousness.

The entire process of life transpires within the framework of the seven lower sefirot of the Kabbalist Tree of Life, from Hesed to Malkhut. What we are cognizant of occurs at the mental plane of Hesed, Gevurah and Tiferet. What we feel operates within the realm of Netzakh, Hod and Yesod and what we work with and experience is taking place physically in the Sefirah of Malkhut.

The physical and psycho-emotional activity that occur within the structure of these three levels of the Tree of Life effect the spiritual plane of Keter, Hokhmah and Binah in two distinct ways. Firstly, as already discussed, the life experience taking place below on the mental, emotional and physical levels is translated by the the upper sefirot, the spiritual forces guided by the soul, into meaningful spiritual essence. It is the sefirah of Binah that takes in that essence, which is the transformed energy of life experience. Subsequently, it is assimilated into the soul as holy energy at the Keter level through the intervention of the sefirah of Hokhmah.

In other words, one process that takes place as spiritual experience is the conversion of life experience into pure, spiritual energy so that it can be absorbed by the soul. The other process that occurs, which is also spiritual experience, involves direct awareness of spirit and the resulting elevation of consciousness. here, the quality of our life experience when taken into Binah, can be transferred to the innermost depths of of pure consciousness so as to add its light to the light of being, thereby enriching the soul.

When the restructured energy of our life experience is pure enough and strong enough to add increased vibrancy to the hidden light of our innermost consciousness, the result is soul growth. When soul growth occurs, the effects are profound and they become perceptible.

The ensuing effects of this level of spiritual awareness are truly transformative,
altering one’s entire perception of self and relationship to the world. One experiences a heightened sense of the holy, which translates into a far greater sense of the sacredness of self and the soul’s relationship to God. Between oneself, the universe and the divine there is a very tangible sense of interrelationship and connectedness.

When spiritual experience becomes spiritual awareness, our cognitive focus shifts from “Mokhin de Katnut”, limited, restricted consciousness centered on personal and worldly concerns to “Mokhin de Gadlut”, expanded consciousness that elevates us. In this state, we come to understand more deeply our neshamah, our very essence and at the same time we become intensively aware intuitively of our abiding relationship to God.

In this context, our consciousness ascends and suddenly we are in touch with the level of Hokhmah and Binah. In the vast quietude of spirit, we experience a true sense of self, one that is not referenced to nor dependent on persona, process or relationship to other.

At this level, we glimpse the totality of self and engage with an all encompassing sense of our being. From the sefirah of Binah, we experience profound awe and deep reverence for God, creation and self. From Hokhmah, we feel infinite possibility and a tremendous depth of clarity. Through Binah and Hokhmah, we are brought to a contact point with soul. Emanating from the supernal hiddeness of Keter, the level of essence itself, we come to experience the ultimate spiritual reality, peace.

Such palpable, core spiritual experience happens often as an intensified moment of timelessness. It is not a constant state on the cognitive level. It is, however, the catalyst and the subsequent foundation for spiritual evolution. Its effect is enduring on the subliminal level. For true spiritual experience alters the very nature and structure of our inner world. The value of such penetrating change and internal transformation is immeasurable. Every such shift of internal reality, based on the work we are doing through our life experience moves us spiritually to the next level of becoming, to the next plane of soul evolution. Achieving soul growth and spiritual redefinition is an absolutely
vital element of one’s life work. It is simply not optional.

The Paradigm of Moses

If a person is to grow and mature spiritually, one must adopt and strengthen certain inner qualities, in order to facilitate that growth. Certain character traits and behavioral patterns are particularly important to the process, since they serve as the foundation for spiritual exploration and expression. The furthering and strengthening of these qualities are very central to the path of self-development. Certain human qualities are, in fact, so pivotal in establishing the groundwork for personal growth, that they deserve special attention and therefore, warrant close examination.

In this regard, it is difficult to overstate the spiritual importance of the quality of modesty. For modesty is humility. Humility is one of the central keys to spiritual growth and personal development. The Torah states, that Moses was one of the most humble human beings, that ever lived. This is neither a random comment nor an arbitrary statement. It is not meant as a simple description of Moses nor even a well-intentioned compliment. It is a summation of who Moses was, and why he was so important. It is in this one short, poignant verse that the character of Moses is fully summed up.

How enormously important those few words are! The Torah could have described the main aspects of Moses character in a number of ways. Moses was a great leader. He was courageous and determined. He faced Pharaoh down. He led the Jews to freedom.

Moses was also a man of great patience. He served as judge and military leader, guiding the people physically and spiritually the forty years of the desert wandering. Moses was a highly spiritual being. He spoke directly to God. It was he, who was chosen to ascend Mount Sinai and receive the Law from the Hand of God.

Yet, the Torah does not describe Moses as a most courageous individual. It does not refer to him as mighty or wise, nor as revered or holy. Though he was in reality all of those things, The Torah chooses to describe Moses, first and foremost, as being exceedingly humble. Why? Because, humility is the very basis for the type of achievements Moses was capable of. Moses never sought to be a spokesman for his people. Rather, he was embarrassed to speak in public.

He did not choose to be a leader, God asked him to assume the mantle of leadership. Moses did not seek to be an intercessor between God and the people. The people, in their fear, requested of him, that he take on that role. It was God, who approached and spoke to Moses. Not the other way around. That is what made Moses, so holy a soul.

He was not ego-centric or driven by a desire for recognition. Rather, he was modest and self effacing by nature. By being humble, Moses was completely open and receptive. Though he did not choose the tasks and assignments he was to undertake, he accepted them freely and fulfilled them completely. He did what needed to be done, because, on one hand, God asked him to and on the other, because the obvious need was there.

Moreover, Moses was able to fulfill all of these varied assignments, because he was open to receiving instructions from God. Being a lawgiver, a judge, an arbiter, a military leader and a prophet, Moses not only had to wear a number of different hats, but also to be well versed in a number of unrelated skills.

For one human being to handle this level of responsibility for a half a century would, normally, be beyond the scope of any human being. The degree of concentration and organization alone, required to carry out these many levels of obligation for even a short period of time is almost impossible to comprehend. To consolidate all his talents, and to coordinate his time and energy, to meet these multiple and varied demands required something other than determination, will power, desire or drive. None of those would have facilitated success at this level. They simply would have burned Moses out and put him in an early grave. Instead, Moses lived to be 120.

Moses’ success was due to his deep and abiding humility. Moses had no sense of his own self-importance. He had no driving ego, no agenda, and no grand view of himself. In his modesty, he felt that he was truly a servant. Moses fled the court of Pharaoh. He escaped the corridors of power, self-aggrandisement and recognition. Moses, instead, chose to live simply and quietly as a shepherd until God, personally, asked him to take on the responsibility of helping to extract the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

What is interesting is, that by serving God and the people, Moses became master of himself. He came to full fruition as a person, because the focus of his activity in this life was not on himself and his own needs, but rather upon how he could be of service to God and to other people.

To be humble is to be open. It is to have no preconceived expectations about life or about one’s place and importance in the world. Modesty is the willingness to let go of the tendency of ego to seek to rule one’s life. If one allows ego-centrism to define the course of one’s life, one is not available to the higher forces of spirit. Subsequently, one is also not in a position to allow the flow of divine energy to permeate one’s life and one’s life experience.

We cannot hear the voice of God in our lives, if our ego is preventing us from hearing it. It is only through humility, through the simple openness of heart and mind, uncluttered by the false beliefs and unreasonable expectation levels created by egoism, that we enable our inner spirit to come through and take control over our lives. It is through modesty, that the channel is kept open for the flow of divine guidance and blessing.

Humility is not a surrender of self nor of ego. On the contrary, it is an affirmation of the soul, the spiritual core of all of us. Humility is the act of submission to God. It is the acknowledgment that God is the center of our lives, as well as at the core of the life of the universe.

We affirm our connection to God, when we allow our souls and the divine spark within us to take charge of the course of our lives. Both, submission to God and the emergence of our true spiritual nature, as the guiding force of our earthly lives, are accomplished by modesty and humility. When we are truly open, then we view our lives, continually, as blank tablets upon which the soul writes life’s scripts, guided by the Hand of God. That is the paradigm set down by Moses.

Greater than all of his massive accomplishments stands the example of his life, his approach to living. Moses’ way of life is a great key. It is a model we should all strive to attain and to adhere to. Indeed, a great legacy. It is the secret of being real.

Rabbi Fisdel

http://www.classicalkabbalist.org

Coping With Darkness

With the coming of winter, we embrace not only the beginning of a new year, we are also faced with having to work through the season of darkness. During this season, days are still short and the nights are, determinedly long. The ground turns cold and vegetation is in stasis. There is no growth in nature, just extended darkness and cold rains.

There are seasons within our own lives when similar conditions prevail. Unexpected events, sudden change or misfortune, trauma or distress can affect us emotionally the same way. The loss of a job, the departure of a loved one, dashed hopes or broken dreams can send us into our own personal winters. That is part of the cycle of life.

For human beings, winter represents an end point. It represents the termination of an element or phase of our lives. There is a distinct finality to such moments, be it the conclusion of a relationship, be it the death of a loved one or be it the end of a personal era, manifested as a career change or a transition into middle age.

We humans, as sentient beings, have an option that neither the natural world nor the animal kingdom possesses. We have choice. We have the freedom and ability to alter our focus, to change the perspectives we have on our lives and our situation. We can perceive things differently, if we so choose to. An end can be mourned or it can be honored. The past can be pined for as an irretrievable loss or it can be cherished as valued experience. The decision is in our hands, exclusively.

During times of difficulty or pain, we can choose to sink into our own void and let the darkness overcome us. We can surrender to despondency, despair and melancholy. We can yield to anger, recrimination and aggression.

Surrendering to despair comes as a result of inaction. Outbursts of anger and hostility are reaction patterns to pain. Both approaches, one passive and one overt, lead to the same place, to a deepening of the darkness. Both stem from emotional investment in our own limited egos.

Winter, if properly understood, offers us a great opportunity. It is the season of regeneration, the season of rest. Darkness, in its truest sense, is not an absence of light nor is it the negation of light. It is the partner of light. Light is energy, growth and movement. It is joy, desire and achievement.

True darkness is the quietude of rejuvenation. It is the rebuilding process, by which the universe strengthens itself. It is the time, when the hidden forces of nature are busy regrouping. When there is darkness, life force is regaining it’s integrity, so that at the proper season it will reemerge and produce growth and revival.

Understanding this, we should look at the difficult periods of our lives in the exact same vein. When loss or disruption, misfortune or defeat affect our lives, we must embrace it. Such times are, in essence, an opportunity to close down what can no longer be, to relinquish what has already spent it’s energy or that which, simply, has finished running it’s course.

For spiritual, emotional and psychological growth to take place, we need to make room for it to happen. This involves a process of release. We have let go of what we no longer need. We have to relinquish that which we are still carrying within us, which may have been necessary and important at an earlier stage of our lives, but now has become either useless and burdensome to us or worse, detrimental.

This emptying process, though of great importance, produces a sense of loss and with loss comes grief. The aftermath of experiencing either a loss or a release is the process of grieving. It is, truly, necessary to grieve a loss. Grieving is essential to the process of letting go on all levels, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. To grieve is to empty oneself out. By so doing, one leaves the cup empty, so to speak, making room for endless, new possibility.

Once an individual empties out the old psychological constructs and disposes of the accompanying emotional contents, the way is open to internal regeneration and eventually, to the attainment of a new state of consciousness. There is a critical stage of transition between one’s past, completed experience and a new expression of one’s life. It is achieved by passing through the grief.

The stage beyond grief is that of neutrality, rest and peace. Our periods of darkness should be times of release, inner quiet and restoration. True darkness is the season of renewal. As such, we should accept it with open mind and embrace it with a tranquil heart. It is the gateway to spiritual evolution.

Periods of darkness, when understood properly, are the times of post-completion. After we have let go and released what we have finished with, in our life experience, there is a sacred time of peace. There is a period of great quiet when we become whole. During this sacred time, if we are using the darkness properly, we avail ourselves of the opportunity and the need to focus on the hidden resources deep within us. The season of darkness is the time to attune ourselves to the deep wells of spirit within and let the waters, there, be replenished by our connection to God.

The season of darkness is not a time of barrenness. It is not a time of death. The season of darkness is the time of restoration and regeneration. It is dark, not in the sense of the absence of light, but rather, that darkness is the manifestation of the hidden, the secret and the sacred. It is peace.

May God who establishes peace in the highest heavens, grant us the courage to forego what has past, to dwell securely in the quietude within and to embrace its potential for the future. And we say, Amen.

Rabbi Steven Fisdel