Carried in His Hands

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"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

I believe in God.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sh'va Asar b'Tammuz

Today is the fast day that falls on the seventeenth of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, the day when we commemorate the breaching of Jerusalem's walls by Babylonian forces, the day that, for many Jews stricter than I, begins the three weeks of mourning before Tisha b'Av.  I am already hungry, but it will never do to think like that, so let's talk about the meaning and keeping of this day.

Sh'va Asar b'Tammuz is a minor fast, only sunup to sundown; it started while I was still asleep and will end at 9:14 tonight.  I have decided to wear the kippah that I was saving for three specific days of the year on all fast days, for they all mourn something, as well as on Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron.

On fast days, we add a prayer called "Avinu Malkeinu" to our morning and afternoon prayers.  "Avinu Malkeinu" literally translates to "Our Father, Our King," and it is about how God loves us and guides us even through our sin.  We pray for God to bring us back to Him.

Sh'va Asar b'Tammuz gears us up for the major (25 hour) fast of Tisha b'Av that comes three weeks later.  Watch for a post on that closer to the time.  In between, of course, we have Rosh Hodesh Av, the start of the Hebrew month of Av.  Rosh Hodesh is always a happy occasion.

Friday, July 3, 2015

No Conclusions; Simply Passion

*NOTE: This is going to be a very long post.  There will be no pictures to help entertain you, just my words.  It's been a long, long time since I wrote a post of this sort.*

I simply love Judaism.  I breathe it in and out as I go about my day; my heart pumps Judaism to my veins.  My religion makes my soul sing, and my passion for Judaism is unequalled by my passion for anything else.

I am well on the way to becoming a Rabbi; I simply could not imagine being anything else.  I love God; God loves me; we walk this road together.

And yet I do not keep commandments simply because I am commanded to keep them.  In fact, I don't always believe that I am commanded to keep them.  A Jew does Jewish things because he or she does; God is mixed up in it somewhere, but not necessarily as commander.

Just as a parent's role changes as the child grows up, so too does our relationship to God stretch, grow, and change with the seasons of our lives.  When we are little children, God is our parent.  As we grow older, God becomes friend, cheerleader, confidante, but not parent anymore.  God does not command us to act in a certain way; our actions are up to us.

"Save a life and you have saved the world."  How those words resonate with me! One day I will save lives, and honor God through my work.  I am so excited.  I simply cannot wait.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

L'khod Shabbat, l'khod Shabbat, Shabbat ha'Malkah

(The title of this post is corrupted from a piece of a song I learned in kindergarten or so.  It means: "To honor the Sabbath, to honor the Sabbath, the Sabbath, the Queen.")

I have been thinking hard recently about how to better honor the Sabbath in my dorm room this coming semester.  One major thing I plan to do is start preparing for the Sabbath an hour earlier on Friday afternoons and spend that time cleaning my room.  I also found a beautiful piece of fabric--the most beautiful fabric I could possibly imagine--and hemmed it into a runner to go under my electric Sabbath candles.  I finished that project today, and here are pictures:



Monday, June 29, 2015

For Ritual Purification

Today my official, gorgeous hand washing cup arrived in the mail.  I was so glad it did not come on the Sabbath, so I could actually sign for the package.  Here it is in all its glory:


And here is the hand washing towel that goes with it.  I've had the towel for a while (I got it last Hannukah), but I decided now was a good time to show it off again:


And here is a close-up shot of the embroidery on the towel.  The Hebrew writing says "...on the lifting of the hands"; those words are the end of the blessing we say upon completing the ritual washing:


Sunday, June 28, 2015

In Exactly One Week...

In exactly one week comes Sh'va Asar b'Tammuz, the seventeenth of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, a fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem by Babylonian forces three weeks before the destruction of the first Temple.  Even if this event did not happen on this day, and some have argued that it did not, I feel the need to mourn the collective tragedy, and this day of the year is as good as any other.

The complication? I am the only member of my family who keeps this day, and my parents forgot about it when they planned our vacation.  On Sh'va Asar b'Tammuz, my parents and I will be on a road trip to Northern Vermont.  Getting me food after the end of the fast will be, well, interesting, to say the least.  We'll manage somehow, I'm sure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Observing my Hebrew Birthday

I had a dream last night that made me start thinking, and I have decided that if it is OK with my parents, starting this year I would like to observe and celebrate my Hebrew birthday, not my secular birthday.  Jewish people in America observe two calendars--the Gregorian and the Hebrew--but all other important dates come from the Hebrew calendar.

The Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar; therefore, a Hebrew date that stays the same year to year moves around on the Gregorian calendar.  In 1993, February 8th--my birthday--corresponded to the 17th of the month of Shevat, just two days after the holiday of Tu B'Shevat.  This should be easy to remember.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Precious, Holy Books

I have several books that are considered holy in Judaism, and I am proud to own them.  Here they are:






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I am a bipolar, Jewish teen who also suffers from RND. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. When I grow up, I think I might like to be a Rabbi. Scratch that; I AM going to be a Rabbi! Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!