Teshuvah in the Age of Aquarius

April 4th, 2016

Dear Friends:

Here is the Course Outline for Teshuvah in the Age of Aquarius, a class inspired by the teachings of Reb Zalman (a’h). It will be one of the afternoon week-long classes offered at the Aleph Kallah, July 11th-17th in Fort Collins, CO. Hope to see you there! Gabbai Seth Fishman

Session I

Course Map
Becoming acquainted

Jewish Renewal and you
Jewish Renewal and me

RZ Niggun: V’Taher Libeinu
Heart-openings, Expanding our inner space

1.Placing God in front of me
2.Tapping into our vulnerability
3.Accessing invisible support
4.Carving out inner space
5.Contemplation
6.Ribono Shel Olam, Gottenyu, closeness

Exercise and sharing: Inward attention
Traditions of Teshuvah

1.In Hasidut and Kabbalah
2.In Mussar
3.Bein adam l’vein Makom
4.Bein adam l’vein chavero
5.Degrees of Transparency (Galui V’yadua)

a)Aware, acknowledged, taking ownership
b)Aware, questioning role, feeling victimized
c)Unaware

RZ Niggun: L’cha Amar Libi
Jewish Meditation, averas detectors

1.Devekut, tuning in
2.Shiviti Hashem, we are cells of the global brain
3.RZ’s Blue Jeans Spirituality, creating reminders

Spiritual Buddies

Read the rest of this entry »

A Connection with the Rebbe z’l

March 9th, 2016

Here’s the first part of a precious sharing from Reb Zalman, alav hashalom, and his first encounter with the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Reb Menachem Mendel Schneerson, alav hashalom. The teaching came on 3 Tammuz 5766, the Rebbe’s 12th Yortzeit, (June 29, 2006). The source is the DVD, “What’s New in Jewish Renewal, 2006”, disk 3, Copyright © Spirit of the Desert Productions. (Edited by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

I want to make a connection with the Rebbe, with Reb Menachem Mendel, (it’s his Yorzeit today), and I’d like to urge you to do the following:

If you have, anywhere, a hope, a concern, something for which you would go to a Rebbe with a qvittel so that he would pray for you, keep that in mind and, during the second half today, we are going to chant the ana b’choach and send off, in a sense, sort of like hitting the enter button to send off your request.

And so, in all the things that I want to do today, I want to do it really logged on to that website, to what I learned from the Rebbe and some of the things that happened to me in encountering with him.

[To begin, I’ll tell you when I first saw him:] In the beginning, I thought of him [as the Moroccan]. I was living in Marseilles, France; the year was 1940 and 41.

Reb Menachem Mendel Schneerson
MM_Young_man2

Read the rest of this entry »

The Act Of Prayer

February 15th, 2016

The following text is from Yishmru Daat, p. 30, by Reb Zalman ah. (Translation by Gabbai Seth Fishman and click here for Hebrew text.)

The Act of Prayer

The one who prays to Hashem Yitbarach should hold the belief that, from the start, there was a cause brought about by the everlasting One, and that S/He is the source of all completions, and S/He created all the worlds at the time when it arose in Hir will.

Also, after S/He created them and S/He brought them into existence, creatio ex nihilo and the absolute void, S/He didn’t turn over the leading to any angel or planet. Instead, S/He is the One who is the bringer of life, and S/He guides all the creatures, including those residing in the highest of heights all the way to those residing in the depths of below, the One without measure or compare.

And with Hir awareness, S/He completes all of the causes that S/He began at the start.

And S/He is the only One, alone.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Trip To Brooklyn

February 14th, 2016

Dear Friends:

Here is the article, written by me in the summer of ’91, and describing my trip with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a’h, together with his youngest son, Yotam, and our encounter with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Reb Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a’h. [NOTE: If you scroll down to the end, you will see the video of the Rebbe’s words to Reb Zalman.] Gabbai Seth Fishman

A TRIP TO BROOKLYN

Reb Zalman wanted Yotam to meet the Rebbe and also wanted to give the Rebbe a copy of Spiritual Intimacy: A Study of Counseling in Hasidism, a book Zalman wrote about the holy love that exists between a Rebbe and his students. I was to come along to help in the trip, and to ask the Rebbe for a blessing for myself and my wife Anna on our then, upcoming wedding.

On Sunday, August 18th, 1991, at 8AM, I met Reb Zalman and Yotam, and we set out on the drive to Brooklyn. I was curious to learn about Zalman’s time spent in the Lubavitch community and asked many questions as we drove.

“When did you first meet the Lubavitcher Rebbe?,” I asked Reb Zalman.

RZ060604_trip_to_brooklyn

Read the rest of this entry »

Spiritual, and Other Intimacies

January 1st, 2016

I’ve been reminded this week of words of Reb Zalman, (a’h), from 2004. On day 3 of his course “Inner Space” and after an exercise in which he had asked participants to pair up under a tallis to share meaningful root metaphors for God, he gave the following caution:

It is clear to me from the vibe that happened here in this space now – some of you were laughing; some of you were crying; it was a deep place for you to be at – and somehow you can’t help but fall in love with the person with whom you do that kind of sharing. (General nervous laughter) And I just want to say that I want to help you with this thing.

Because, it’s important to recognize that the person with whom you have had spiritual intimacy you don’t need to have genital intimacy with. (More general laughter)

It turns out that in the times of the sixties/seventies, people were so eager in their looking for intimacy that they were ready to offer genital intimacy so that they could get the spiritual intimacy. That created all kinds of karmic problems.

But when you say:

הריני מקבל עלי מצות ואהבת לרעך כמוך / hareni mikabel alay mitzvat v’ahavta l’rayeacha kamocha / I accept upon myself loving my neighbor as myself

this is where I’m trying to get you with the work we’ve been doing.

And the important thing has to be the discrimination not to con-fuse it, not to fuse it together with other levels. All of us are starving for spiritual intimacy today. If I were to say where we are most anemic today, it is in this area of spiritual intimacy.

Reb Zalman (Transcribed from the 4 DVD Set “The Space Within”, Spirit of the Desert Production (c) 2007, disk 3)

Reb Zalman’s Maoz Tzur Translation

December 4th, 2015

Dear Friends,

The awesome translation of Maoz Tzur by Reb Zalman a’h can be downloaded here.

And here is a rendition from a concert last year. Happy Hanukkah!

Thanksgiving Greetings

November 19th, 2015

I am quite certain Reb Zalman (a’h) would like me to share something that he would share without fail at this time every year, asking me to get the word out:

Thanksgiving, a time for gratitude, is a time for giving thanks! After we partake in our Thanksgiving celebration, let’s take a moment for birkat hamazon / grace after meals, (however that comes up for you and your company in your particular ways of “Jew”-ing), and to reflect on those things for which you are thankful this year, including the meal.

Here are links for two Thanksgiving resources provided by Reb Zalman (a’h) for download or printing:

Thanksgiving insert 1

Thanksgiving insert 2

Reb Zalman’s innovative inserts teach us a core teaching of Jewish Renewal that for all times, we have been empowered to make the tradition our own. The chachamim / the sages of yore and the Men of the Great Assembly who helped codify our liturgy as it has come down to us even in this time would agree!

Read the rest of this entry »

Hattarat Nedarim, 5776

September 7th, 2015

Please use the following as part of your Rosh HaShanah preparations. The court session to annul vows is typically done on erev Rosh HaShanah which is Sunday, Sept 13th, 2015 before sunset.

Hattarat Nedarim / The Release Of Vows
Based upon the Traditional Formula
Shared with us by Reb Zalman (ztzvk’l)
(Edited for 5776 by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

Petitioner:

My friends, please serve as judges of a court you convene with the authority to release me from vows. Will you please serve for me in this capacity?

The Judges:

We will now convene and we are ready to hear you.

Petitioner:

First, let me state that I have no intention in the declaration that now follows to cancel any promises I have made to individuals, for only the ones to whom I have made those promises can release me from them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sefiras HaBinyan Calendar 5775

July 29th, 2015

Here is the Calendar for Sefiras HaBinyan, 5775

binyan1_5775

Read the rest of this entry »

Gravesite of Reb Zalman (z’l)

June 25th, 2015

Reb Zalman’s Tombstone
מצבה של ר’ זלמן זצוק”ל

RZ_Gravesite_orig

RZ_Gravesite_rev2

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi kever / grave and tombstone