Archive for the ‘Participatory Epistemology’ Category

For Rosh Hashanah (Zeh Hayom)

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Here is a translation of Reb Zalman’s Rosh Hashanah piece, published before in its original Hebrew here.

“This day is [the anniversary of] the start of Your handiwork, a remembrance of the first day.”

Much is written on these verses and to this, behold, I add, from what Hashem has graced me about this current age, as it is written, “You are all standing this day,” in our era at which time even we, who are on the level of “your water drawers” or “your woodcutters”, the entire leadership of Israel during the days of ikvata d’mashicha relies on us holding it up.

And as is put forward in sefarim, the point of Rosh Hashanah is binyan hamalchut as we pray, “reign over the whole world in Your dignity.” And besides what one needs to be in shofar blowing, (simple strain of “Father, merciful father”), there is much else that is cast our way from the level of itaruta d’l’tata / arousal from below, that is begun for us in the month of Elul which begins with [Aleph Lamed] Ani Ldodi V‘dodi Li / I am my beloved’s – in arousal from below, – and so too the month of Tishrei, i.e. they begin from the end of the alphabet – going upwards — TavShinReishKuf and after, V’dodi Li / my beloved is mine.

And what is our role? To raise Binyan hamalchut! “Pronounce before me verses of malchuyot, etc” (in order to make me your Sovereign) and through this we arouse the Divine will to be our king for another year. And some particular efforts on our part are needed to make us worthy of this service.


An Organismic Way to Reality

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

A different and organismic way to understand the Sparks and other Kabbalistic Ideas

In order to have a better reality map, I look at the terminology of the Kabbalah and then I ask – “Do its teachings relate to the quantum field?”

A [key] question [of one’s reality map] is, “What is it that the soul intuited and came to [see as] knowledge?”

The soul’s intuition (and Kabbalah’s) is of a spiritual totality which happens in the right hemisphere of the brain where representation is not done through words.  However, in order to remember what I have experienced I have to tell it to myself in the verbal/conceptual language of the left hemisphere.  For this, I have to find some words.

If I try to teach anything of Kabbalah to you,  I know that I have to use words to make myself understood.  On your part, I need to invite you to stretch from the words into what the words contained in their inner meaning. My challenge in the communication is in trying to describe something for which there is not a good vocabulary.

Therefore, to explain Kabbalah we borrow vocabulary from left-brain philosophy. Unless we learn how to hear what is behind these words and to find and attune the reality in the words to the vibratory regions of consciousness to which they refer, the words will not convey the reality that lies behind them.

Remember that  all descriptions from mysticism are translations from the experienced reality. The reality was experienced and made conscious by the right brain sensors in a simultaneous way with all the inherent paradoxes occurring to  one in that consciousness in a parallel fashion. However, the only way that theophany is forwarded to the left brain is in serial fashion – one word at a time.

Unless you, the recipient, are able to somewhat restructure the information — by emulating the parallel manner of the original intuitive experience and by making way for incorporating the paradoxes through disconnecting the censor who waylays the information with its protestations of “contradiction!”  — then the communication of the right brain will seem worthless and ridiculous.


Reb Zalman on YouTube

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

A quick survey of YouTube returns a long list of videos featuring Reb Zalman.  They are listed here in the following categories:

Jewish Renewal, Organismic Paradigm, Reb Zalman Davvenen, Inner Life, KavvanahCalendar/Lifecycle,  Intimacy and Spirit, From Age-ing to Sage-ing, Deep Ecumenism, Tshuvah,  Reminiscences, Psychedelics, Communities.

With gratitude to the many videographers, (most notably, Rabbi Sarah Leah).

Jewish Renewal

Hello Renewal
Reb Zalman reviews his legacy
What is Jewish Renewal?
Renewal Visions for future
Renewal Visions for future 2

Organismic Paradigm

We are just a cell
Shifting toward healing the planet


Tour of Reb Zalman’s davvenen space
Putting on the tallis
Praising with Heart and Flesh
Andalucian Zikr

Inner Life

In Your Blessed Hands
Covenant is unique to yiddishkeit
Rosh Hashanah inner work
Rosh Hashanah inner work 2
Freeze-dried Psalm 23 as Reb Zalman heats it up
Affirmations and Jew-ing
Interpersonal aspects of the inner life
Reb Zalman’s legacy of increasing attunement
Using the imagination, Baal Shem Tov and Star Trek
On relating to God during prayer and role of ego
On Avot 1:14
The Baal Shem‘s Spirit

  • Kiss of God, shmooze with Father Thomas Keating, descriptions of closeness with God that they share

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


This Is About HANUKKAH

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

The Bible tells us several times that God wants to have a place “to make His name dwell therein.”

[NOTE:  A reference for a Temple where offerings are made.]

And it’s interesting that it does not say, ‘I will dwell there,’ but rather that, ‘my Name will dwell there.’

It is true that everything is God, that everything is in God, and that everything, i.e., the whole cosmos is not separate from God.  And yet, in all of creation, a Temple is a special case because, for those who enter therein, there is a concentrated, stronger focus of the quality of divinity.

[NOTE:  The primary setting of the Hanukkah story is the holy Temple.  Therefore, Reb Zalman begins by providing us with a sense of how a Temple functions to better equip us to hear what he later wants to tell us about Hanukkah.]

Although God is in everything there is and although everything, each thing that is, broadcasts its own quality, that which we call a Temple is a special case.  It was a broadcasting tower from which a signal went out to the world:

The carrier wave was a field of blessing.  The message stream was the way in which God would like to be able to see the world, i.e., a world in harmony, receptive of that field of blessing. In the broadcast, there was a certain kind of beacon of giving meaning to life and a sense of justice and compassion for the world.

And in each human being there is a receiver for that broadcast, (God’s divine compassion broadcasts on human wavelengths). So the beacon helps a person who is open to God, a person who wants to be open to receive it in this way and to recalibrate her/his moral and ethical life.


It Coulda’ Been You and Jewish Stress Mgmt

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The following text by Reb Zalman is from this week’s Torah portion, Shabbos BeHar. (Click here for Hebrew/English version). [Notes by Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor]:

(Leviticus 25:39) And if your friend becomes destitute – with you – and is sold to you.

[NOTE:  Achicha, (literally, “your brother”), has been translated as “your friend” throughout to keep the language gender neutral.  The words, “with you,” in this text, is understood as one who lives with you, i.e.,  nearby.  Gabbai Seth]

How could this have happened that your friend fell to such a low level that s/he is now being sold to you?

The likelihood is that the rich person was suppressed having fallen too with hir. For if the rich one could have been generous s/he would surely have lent support to hir friend so that the latter wouldn’t have had to become a servant.

And so, you have no right to work hir with low-paid, back-breaking work like an unskilled laborer, because it could have been you.

[NOTE:  The words, “with you,” can also be understood as you being with your friend in destitution.  If you don’t want to be treated that way if it happens to you, then don’t treat your friend that way.]


Tziruf / Permutations

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

In Tikkunei Zohar 9b it states that for each Hebrew month, there is a different permutation (“tziruf“) of the holy name YHVH

There are a total of 12 unique ways that the four letters with two repeated can be arranged (i.e. YHVH, YHHV, YVHH, HVHY, HVYH, HHVY, VHYH, VHHY, VYHH, HYHV, HYVH, HHYV) and each month has its unique combination.

Click here for a table of the months, in Hebrew and English – scroll down -, and their corresponding permutations).

Here’s some more from Reb Zalman on tziruf:


Light on Hanukkah

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Hanukkah video talk for Santa Barbara, November 2009
by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi


Sacred Time Consciousness
Hanukkah: Not Just for Kids
Lost Sanctity: A Crisis
Sanctuary: Alive and Conscious
Waning Daylight
Elu V’Elu
Miracles and Habits
One’s Own Perspective
The Aesthetic Dimension
Gaian Awareness


The Rebbe’s Prescription for Anxiety

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

In the following article, Reb Zalman makes accessible some of the core practical teachings of the Alter RebbeRabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad-Lubavitch.  With Reb Zalman’s help, the Baal Tanya‘s teachings extend to universal applicability.  You will find at the end prescriptions for Anxiety.  The message from the Sefer Beinonim is pertinent to all, regardless of identifications or level of observance.  Please feel free to leave comments at the end with any thoughts or reactions.  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Ladi on

by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi


Anxiety And the Beinoni
The Psychology of Beinoni
The Rational Soul
Habad and Affect
The Vicissitudes of the Beinoni
The Remedy
Inner and Outer Reality


How to Develop Your God-Connections

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The following text by Reb Zalman is for this week’s Torah portion, Shabbos Lech Lecha.  (Click here for Hebrew/English version).  [Notes by Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor]:

Go out … to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). 

And, indeed, there is, at times, some influence that will make some faint impression upon us.

[Note:  An impression, or an inspiration.  We are being asked to relate this text to those experiences we have had as interactions with the divine, or God-connections.  Gabbai Seth]

Just as when someone snaps a picture, and until the film is developed, the picture can’t be seen, and not even if the camera is opened to the light at which time the faint impression is destroyed. 

For this reason, Hashem Yisborach said to him:  “Leave your land,” and this is like the developer, “your birthplace” stop bath, “your father’s house” – fixer, “to the land that I will show you,” and later (ibid 18:1) “and Havaye appeared to him in Elone Mamre,” i.e., Hashem became visible.

[Note:  For photos, the developer converts the latent image to metallic silver, the stop bath is a solution to set the proper contrast and the fixer makes the image permanent. 

In order to take hold of the inspiration, to get it clear, to internalize it, we must sort through our root metaphors so that our connection to the source of all being will become clear and strong.  Like Abraham, the root metaphors which we have when we enter adulthood come from influences of country (artzecha), an indigenous culture (moladiticha) or religion (beis avicha).]


Creation: Something We Can Work With

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

The following text by Reb Zalman is for this week’s Torah portion, Shabbos Bereishis.  (Click here for Hebrew/English version):

Asher bara elokim laasot / Which God, in creating, had made,” (Genesis 2:3).

Hashem Yisbarach / God, may S/He be blessed, deals with the level of Beriah / creation (creatio ex nihilo / creation out of nothing), and we deal with the level of Assiyah, making something out of what was already created.

And since the world of Assiyah is for our use,

[Assiyah is the name for the world of action.  The others are the worlds of feeling-Yetzirah, mind-Beriyah and spirit-AtzilutGabbai Seth]

and since it was designated as such, God, Yisborach / may S/He be blessed, is both surprised and  delighted from the new things that we bring about.