Archive for the ‘Participatory Epistemology’ Category

On Rosh Hashanah

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

In the mapping of the Holidays and the Sefirot, Rosh Hashanah‘s two days correspond to Chochmah and Binah.  The following is a translation of Reb Zalman’s text for Rosh Hashanah from Yishmiru Daat.  You will find the Hebrew at the end of this post.  Blessings to you.  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor

And on Day One of Rosh Hashanah, God makes possible for us an opportunity to tap into energies of “Beginning” and Chochmah / Flash of insight so one can start afresh.  And on Day Two, the opportunity to tap into energies of fifty gates of Binah / practical plans for the above flash and Teshuvah / realignment with God, with the Supernal Mother Who is the source of loving-kindness, and the lady of Forgiveness


Reb Zalman’s Offerings Through Aleph Store

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The ALEPH Canada Web Site,, offers Reb Zalman’s books, CD’s and DVD’s as digital downloads. Prices are in Canadian dollars.

Here is the current listing:

* Credo of a Modern Kabbalist (with Daniel Siegel) ($18)

* An English Siddur for Weekdays (temporarily unavailable)

* First Steps to a New Jewish Spirit (with Donald Gropman) (available from Amazon)

* Gate to the Heart: An Evolving Process (edited by Robert Esformes) (available from Amazon)


Tiferet / Majestic Beauty, Presence, Mercy

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

We continue with week three of Sefirah Meditations from Gloria Krasno.  Thank you, Gal-or-Ya!



Gevurah time

Friday, April 17th, 2009

For me and others, Reb Zalman shows us ways to bring the Sefirot inside.  There are seven times seven days between the night of the second Seder and Shavuoth.   We count these days and weeks as follows:  Day 1 is chesed of chesed; day 49 is malchut of malchut.  In between, we go chesed of chesed, gevurah of chesed, tiferet of chesed, netzach of chesed, hod of chesed, yesod of chesed, malchut of chesed, chesed of gevurah, etc., through malchut of malchut

If this doesn’t mean anything to you, then a good place to begin is Chaplain Gloria Krasno’s meditations for Gevurah.  Enjoy!  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor



A Week of Chesed

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Dear Friends:  Chaplain Gloria Krasno sends the following meditations for this first week of counting the Omer.  Good Yom tovGabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor



Pesach: Freely Bestowed Chesed

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Pesach is associated with the Sefirah of Chesed. The text is from The Ten Sefirot in Sacred Time, available from Aleph.  [NOTE:  Translation by Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor.  Words in brackets [] added for explanation by Gabbai Seth.]

And on Pesach, it’s widely known that as we eat matzah we focus on haEMuNah / trust in God (Zohar II 183:) “michla dimhEMeNusa / “Food of faith,” (and michla d’asussa / “Food of remedy“).  Pesach is the holiday of Abraham our father, (peace be to him), she-he-EMiN / who trusted in God, and who went down to Egypt, which created for us the possibility of leaving Mitzrayim.  And, he was generous and charitable, and he put his attention to the freeing of captives.

And when you contemplate the arrangement of the Seder plate, you will discern in the three Matzahs, 1) Chochmah, 2) Binah and 3) Daat

[Chochmah:  Intuitive wisdom; right brain; conceptualization.
Binah: The ability to distinguish, differentiate; left brain; analysis.
Da-at:  Experiential knowledge; reality testing.] 

And six divisions in the plate as follows:
1) Z’roa / Shank bone in Chesed, [reminder of having been spared the killing of the first born],
2) Beitzah / Egg in Gevurah [recalling the churban, our punishment],
3) Maror / Bitter herbs in Tiferet [stirring compassion],
4) Karpas / Celery in Netzach [reminder of the labor],
5) Charoset / Pesach Mixture in Hod [mortar, mud, apple, sweetness],
6) Chazeret / Horseradish  in Yesod [slavery]-

All six together being ze’er anpin / short face, [term which means these six Sefiros].

7) And The plate itself, is the Nukva Malchut [final sefira which is a containing structure for the other six].

And the four cups are the four worlds corresponding to the letters of the revered name, [YHVH/Atzilut, Beriyah, Yetzirah, Assiyah]

And the seder begins with Kiddush in Atzilut [Keter, Chochmah] and with the telling in Beriyah [Binah, which, together with Chochmah, give birth to all the other qualities]. 


The Four Worlds and the Economy

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Reb Zalman writes: 

The Four Worlds and the Economy was transcribed from talks I gave on two occasions covering how the Four Worlds impacts on the Physical Plane and, by extension, the economy.

“We are eager to find solutions for the current financial breakdown of society and the marketplace.  While we are giving our support to President Obama and giving him credit for his efforts to solve a global financial crisis, there is another perspective which comes from an awareness we can garner from our mystical tradition.  From the Four Worlds, we learn that changes in the Physical World, (i.e., financial), are energized from other planes of existence.  

“We must activate the repair across the board: Physical; Affective / Emotional; Mental / Intellectual; and Intuitive / Spiritual.  If we can successfully integrate with all the levels and access those other worlds, then we will nurture ourselves on higher planes along with our physical (financial) needs.  

“I hope these thoughts will help show ways we can do our part and this will thereby help with the president’s efforts so that they will bear fruit.  May you gain insights you need to steer through the difficulties of these times and may our efforts heal the markets of labor and goods, and of employment and housing.”

The Four Levels

by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The union of male and female needs some explanation. 

[Note:  “The union of male and female” is employed frequently in traditional liturgy and chassidut representing redemption.  A world out-of-balance is like a husband and wife in separation, or the Shechina / Feminine God-aspect (literally, “Indwelling Presence”) exiled from the Kadosh Baruch Hu / Masculine God-aspect (literally “Holy One Blessed be He”).  Another usage is from the way of interpreting Shir haShirim / Song of Songs as an alegory of love between God (here considered masculine) and Israel (here considered feminine).  While traditional symbolism portrays this as a heterosexual union, this image may not work for all Jews.  Nonetheless, Reb Zalman’s point here is related to the physical and and the higher worlds and this message transcends orientation.  gabbai Seth.]


A Hanukkah Kavannah

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Hanukkah is associated with the Sefirah of Hod as follows:  Keter: Yom Kippur, Chochmah-Binah: Rosh Hashanah 1 & 2, Chesed: Pesach, Gevurah: Shavuot, Tiferet: Sukkot, Netzach: Purim, Hod: Hanukkah, Yesod: Rosh Chodesh, Malchut: Shabbat.  Reb Zalman’s thinking on this is explained in his Etz Chayim Shel HaMoadim/ Tree of Life of Holidays, which text may be found in Yishmiru Da-at or The Ten Sefirot in Sacred Time, both available from Aleph).

Here is a translation of his section for Hanukkah which will serve as a wonderful preparation for this wonderful holiday.  (Hebrew and English together may be found below.)    Wishing you and yours a Happy Hanukkah!  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor.

On Hanukkah, during which time the miraculous light shines on us, with candles from which we are not allowed to derive any benefit other than the enjoyment of watching them burn, for which enjoyment we give thanks (hod-ot) to God and praise God’s Hod aspects, and tap the presence of  Aaron the priest and the Hasmoneans the priests:  At this time, we publicize, one to another and to the world, the care and oversight with which we light, showing and espousing through this action, in turn, a publicizing of the miracle of the oil.


Music for Sefirot

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Dear Friends:

Reb Zalman:  “I would love it if someone were to write these themes into a symphony in seven movements that we could use for the Simchat Torah dances.”   (From “Simchat Torah Processions”.)

The themes Reb Zalman references in this quote are those associated with each of the seven days of Sukkot and also with the seven processions of Simchas torah.  Each day and procession are associated with one of the seven sefirot / divine attributes:  Chesed / LovingKindness, Gevurah / Strict Justice and Discernment, Tiferet / Balance, Mercy and Harmony, Netzach / Persistence, Focus, Hod / Beauty and Aesthetics, Yesod / Foundation, Malchut / Kingship, Shechinah / divine in-dwelling, tikkun / repair and a healed planet.

When I first read Reb Zalman’s statement, I envisioned a ballet with seven movements based upon the composition.  Halevay / God-willing such a piece and such a production will come to fruition so we can all hear and see it!

Zalman has sometimes spoken of particular pieces of music that evoke associations in us of specific sefirot.  In this post, I have put together various recordings of classical music with such associations.  I brainstormed the list based upon my own understanding of Sefirot;  the list is a current snapshot of a subjective understanding and association with each Sefirah.

I hope you will find this useful in your connections to Sefirot and God.   Enjoy (click a composer’s name below to hear the music)!  Please place suggestions for music that you associate with Sefirot in the comments section, below.  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor

Music for Sefirot, 5769

Chesed:  Ravel: Pavanne, Barber: Adagio for strings, Tchaikovsky: Symphony 6, mvt 2Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue (please ff to section from 5:34 to 7:42), DvorakSymphony 5Wolf:  “Schlafendes Jesuskind, Massenet: Meditation from ThaisTchaikovsky: Symphony 6, mvt 1 (please ff to section from 8:27 to end), Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Tallis, Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves, Brahms: “Wiegenlied, Wolf: “der Genesene an die Hoffnung.


Simchat Torah Processions

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Dear Friends:

Oy!  The joy of Simchas Torah as we did it at P’nai Or!  

It was 1992, led by Rabbi Jeff Roth and held in Saxe Lodge in Saugerties, NY.   The attendees included a sprinkling of Musicians and Choreographers among the sixty or so attendees.  We were to create a Simchas Torah / rejoicing in the torah service reflecting Reb Zalman’s innovative work in which the kahal / community moves to each Sefirah / Divine Attribute in succession; we were to explore and create the sacred ritual dances of Simchat Torah

I was assigned, (along with a dozen others, including Tsurah August and Efraim Eisen), to the Sefirah of Tiferet / Harmony.  Five other groups were assigned to the other Sefirot from Chesed / Lovingkindness to Yesod / Foundation.