***Ten Commitments***
(By Rabbi Michael Lerner of Congregation Beyt Tikkun of San Francisco)

1. YHVH, the Power of Transformation and Healing, is the Ultimate Reality of the Universe and the Source of Transcendent Unity

Aware of the suffering caused by not acknowledging the ultimate Unity of All Being, I vow to recognize every human being as a manifestation of the Divine and to spend more time each day in awe and wonder at the grandeur of Creation.

Aware of the suffering that is caused when we unconsciously pass on to others the pain, cruelty, depression and despair that has been inflicted upon us, I vow to become conscious and then act upon all the possibilities for healing and transforming my own life and being involved in healing and transforming the larger world.

2. Idolatry

Aware of the suffering caused by taking existing social realities, economic security, ideologies, religious beliefs, national commitments, or the gratification of our current desires as the highest value, I vow to recognize only God as the ultimate, and to evolving part of a larger Totality whose ultimate worth is measured by how close it brings us to God and to love of each other. To stay in touch with this reality, I vow to meditate each day for at least ten minutes and to contemplate the totality of the universe and my humble place in it.

3. Do not take God in Vain

Aware of the suffering caused by religious or spiritual fanaticism, I vow to be respectful of all religious traditions which preach love and respect for the Other, and to recognize that there are many possible paths to God. I vow to acknowledge that we as Jews are not better than others and our path is only one of the many ways that people have heard God's voice. I vow to remain aware of the distortions in our own traditions, and the ways that I myself necessarily bring my own limitations to every encounter with the Divine. So I will practice spiritual humility. Yet I will enthusiastically advocate for what I find compelling in the Jewish tradition and encourage others to explore that which has moved me.

4. Observe the Sabbath

Aware of the suffering produced by excessive focus on "making it" and obtaining material satisfactions, I vow to regularly observe Shabbat as a day in which I focus on celebrating the world rather than trying to control it or maximize my own advantage within it. I will build Shabbat with (my spiritual) community and enjoy loving connection with others. I will use some Shabbat time to renew my commitment to social justice and healing. I will also set aside significant amounts of time for inner spiritual development, personal renewal, reflection, and pleasure.

5. Honor your mother and father

Aware of the suffering caused by aging, disease, and death, I vow to provide care and support for my parents.

Aware that every parent has faults and has inflicted pain on their children, I vow to forgive my parents and to allow myself to see them as human beings with the same kinds of limitations as every other human being on the planet. And I vow to remember the moments of kindness and nurturance, and to let them play a larger role in my memory as I develop a sense of compassion for them and for myself.

6. Do not murder

Aware of the suffering caused by wars, environmental irresponsibility, and eruptions of violence, I vow to recognize the sanctify of life and not to passively participate in social practices that are destructive of the lives of others. I will resist the perpetrators of violence and oppression of others, the poisoners of our environment, and those who demean others or encourage acts of violence. Aware that much violence is the irrational and often self-destructive response to the absence of love and caring, I vow to show more loving and caring energy to everyone around me, to take the time to know others more deeply, and to struggle for a world which provides everyone with recognition and spiritual nourishment.

7. Do not engage in sexual exploitation

Aware of the suffering caused when people break their commitments of sexual loyalty to each other, and the suffering caused by using other people for our own sexual purposes, I vow to keep my commitments and to be fully honest and open in my sexual dealings with others, avoiding deceit or manipulation to obtain my own ends.

I will rejoice in my body and the bodies of others, will treat them as embodiments of Divine energy, and will seek to enhance my own pleasure and the pleasure of others around me, joyfully celebrating sex as an opportunity for encounter with the holy. I will do all I can to prevent sexual abuse in adults and children, the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases, and the misuse of sexuality to further domination or control of others. I will respect the diversity of non-expletive sexual expression and lifestyles and will not seek to impose sexual orthodoxies on others.

8. Do not steal

Aware of the suffering caused by an unjust distribution of the world's resources, exploitation, and theft, I vow to practice generosity, to share what I have, and to not keep anything that should belong to others while working for a wise use of the goods and services that are available. I will not horde what I have, and especially will not hoard love. I will support a fairer redistribution of the wealth of the planet so that everyone has adequate material well-being, recognizing that contemporary global inequalities in wealth are often the resultant of colonialism, genocide, slavery, theft and the imposition of monetary and trade policies by the powerful on the powerless. In the meantime, I will do my best to support the homeless and others who are in need.

Aware that others sometimes contribute much energy to keeping this community functioning, I will give time and energy to the tasks of building the Tikkun Community, and, when possible, will donate generously of my financial resources and my talents and time.

9. Do not lie

Aware of the suffering caused by wrongful speech, I vow to cultivate a practice of holy speech in which my words are directed to increasing the love and caring in the world. I vow to avoid words that are misleading or manipulative, and avoid spreading stories that I do not know to be true, or which might cause unnecessary divisiveness or harm, and instead will use my speech to increase harmony, social justice, kindness, hopefulness, trust and solidarity. I will be generous in praise and support for others. To heighten my awareness of this commitment, I will dedicate one day a week to full and total holiness of words, refraining from any speech that day which does not hallow God's name or bring joy to others.

10. Do not covet

Aware of the suffering caused by excessive consumption of the world's resources, I vow to rejoice in what I have and to live a life of ethical consumption governed by a recognition that the world's resources are already strained and by a desire to promote ecological sustainability and material modesty. I vow to see the success of others as an inspiration rather than as detracting from my own sufficiency and to cultivate in myself and others the sense that I have enough and that I am enough and that there is enough for everyone.


(By Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, AQUARIAN AGE REBBE)

Each one who aligns him or herself every day with these principles of the faith and lives according to them can be assured that s/he soon will have a role in the World to Come for us and for all the peoples of the entire world.

(1) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith in the God who is infinite and the blessed light that issues from that Infinite Source; the God who is beyond time and space, yet who longs to have a dwelling place among those in the worlds here below; and who, out of loving beneficence to Her creatures, contracted Her light and Her radiant glory, in order to emanate, to create, to form, and to effectuate all that exists in the universe.

(2) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith in the Oneness of God and of all creation, a oneness of the kind of One that has no second; and that all which exists in the universe exists solely according to the will of that God, who constantly calls everything into being and causes all existence at every moment.

(3) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that the Creator has an intent and a purpose in creation, and that one of the aspects of that purpose is so that He shall become known to us by and through it; and that we creatures have a task to broaden and enlarge that knowledge/awareness until the world will be as filled with the knowledge of God as the waters that cover the sea.

(4) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that the hoped-for goal is that all of us will come to constitute one united, interconnected, and organic whole and that every living being will know that You are the One who constantly causes its existence.

(5) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that all the pathways through which the Holy Spirit is manifest and revealed are of one piece with the Torah that was given at Sinai.

(6) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith in the mission of Judaism, which is one of the vital organs (the collective being that comprises) all existence, and that through God's compassion on all creatures it is revealed to them how indispensable and integral they are to the health to all the species of the planet.

(7) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that the universe is not ownerless and abandoned, and that everyone who does good with his/her life takes part in the fixing of the world and vice versa (that every one who uses his/her life for evil participates in the destruction of the world;) and that every action has an impact on the rest of existence.

(8) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that the amount of good in the world is greater than the amount of evil, and that the entire order of movement through the chain of evolution is designed to bring about the fulfillment of the Divine intention.

(9) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that the deeds of the fathers and mothers accrue to the benefit of the children, and that the tradition (that is passed on) contains within it the seeds of the light of redemption.

(10) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that our prayers are heard and answered.

(11) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that the Holy Shechinah dwells within our midst and that all who show kindness to living creatures show kindness too to the Shechinah, and vice versa.

(12) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith that physical death does not terminate the existence of the soul; rather, that there are innumerable worlds within which the soul returns to live again.

(13) May it be the (Divine) will that I believe with perfect faith in the fixing of the world (TIKKUN OLAM, the concept that the world can be fixed) and its becoming alive; and that besides coming to life, the world will come to possess a consciousness and feeling, and as such will become a fitting vessel for the revelation of the (Divine) will.


by Aharonit Chavivah Elior (8 years old)
Cuba, New Mexico (from Pumbedissa, Vol. 8, no. 6 5763)

The swift soft gracefulness of a swan on the water seems like it's flying without flapping its wings. Swimming through the reflection of the moon and it's then that I see it: one, two, three, four, five chicks swimming in a line behind their mother. And behind the chicks was a bigger swan swimming just as gracefully as the mom; it was the dad, swiftly moving its bigger feet, its bigger head, its longer neck.

I can feel the breeze through my hair and I can hear the cicadas singing their song and I can see the ants walking in a line carrying the food they picked; the bees humming while they make their beehives in the trees; the fresh smell of flowers.

OT GALGAL HAMAZALOT (Signs of the Zodiac)

Month Sign Hebrew Name Constellation

Nissan - Aries - T'le- The Ram
Iyar - Taurus - Shor - The Bull
Sivan - Gemini - Teumim - The Twins
Tammuz - Cancer - Sartan - The Crab
Ab - Leo - Ari - The Lion
Elul - Virgo - Bethulah - The Virgin
Tishrei - Libra - Maznayim - The Balance Scales
Cheshvan - Scorpio - Akrav - The Scorpion
Kislev - Sagittorius - Keshet - The Archer
Teveth - Capicorn - Gedi - The Goat
Shevat - Aquarius - Deli - The Water Drawer
Adar - Pisces - Dagim - The Fish


Rabbi Moses ibn Maimon (1135-1204) concludes his discussion of the laws pertaining to the public fasts with the following statement:

"All these fasts will be nullified in the Messianic Age. Furthermore, in the future, they will become feastivals and days of rejoicing, as it is written (Zechaeiah 8: 19); 'Thus says Adonai Tzevaot: The fast of the fourth month (the 17th of Tammuz), the fast of the fifth month (Tisha B'Ab), the fast of the seventh month (the Fast of Gedaliah), and the fast of the tenth month (the 10th of Tevet), shall become days of happiness, rejoicing, and the feasts for the House of Judah. And will promote love and truth.'

On the surface, the passage of scripture is problematic. After the Messiah [of the last days] comes and the Jewish people are redeemed, we can easily understand why there will longer be any need to commerate the tragedies that led to the exile [and since]. But why will the fasts become days of rejoicing? Why will they be a cause for celebration?

The answer to these questions lies in the fundamental principles of the Jewish [tribal] faith. Nothing happens by chance. Even a leaf, fluttering in the winds, turns because of God's will and desire. Surely, the fate and destiny of the Jewish people, [God's] "chosen" nation, is carefully controlled by God.

Since God is the ultimate good and all of God's deeds are good, it follows that there is a positive intent in everything that God does.

Thus, the Temple's destruction, and the ensuing exile [and subsequent events such as the exile from Spain and the Nazi Holocaust] have to be considered within this context.

On the apparent level, the powerful energies released at the time created a vacuum of disaster and darkness, but hidden within these tragedies lie the seeds of ultimate good" (Mishnah Torah).


On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, every year, we Jews read from the writings of the Vision-Bringers, the Prophets, these words of the vision of the Prophet Jeremiah concerning the "Days of the Regathering in of the House of Israel," and its reunification with the House of Judah.


(Perek 30: 24b) B'achareem hayameem titbonenu vah:

(Perek 31: 1) Ba'eyt hahee neum-YHVH ehyeh le'Eloheem lekhol mishpechot Yisrael veheymah yihyu-lee le'am.

(Chapter 30: 24b) In the Latter-days, you (the descendants of Jacob [see verse 10]) will understand this:

(Chapter 31: 1[KJV 30: 25]) At that time, it will be revealed that Adonai is [the one known as] "I Will Be is the Creative Powers (God) to ALL the families of Israel and they shall be to Me for a [united] people." [The word 'AM suggests a "people of a shared kinship" as in a clan].

(2) Ko amar YHVH matza cheyn bamidbar 'am sereeday charev halokh lehargee'o Yisrael:

(3) Meyrachok YHVH nirah lee veahavat 'olam ahavteekh, 'al-keyn meshakhteekh chased.

(4) 'Od evnekh venivneyt, betulat Yisrael! 'Od ta'deetupayikh veyatzat bimchol mesachakeem.

(5) 'Od tit'ee kherameem beharey Shomron; nat'u not'eem vechleylu.

(6) Kee yesh-yom karu Notzreem behar Efrayim; kumu vena'aleh Tzion, el-YHVH Elohaynu!

(2) Thus, Adonai is saying: "The nation of the survivors of the Holocaust found favor in My eyes while they were in the desolate place; Israel is gone forth to procure its' rest.

(3) Adonai revealed Itself to me from afar [and said]; "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore have I directed you with loving-kindness.

(4) Yet again will I build you up and you shall be rebuilt. O young [unmarried] women of Israel, you shall again take up your timbrels and go forth in the rhythm of the dance.

(5) You will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; and the farmers shall plant [crops] and live to enjoy the fruit.

(6) Behold! There will be a day when the Watchmen (Notzreem is also the Modern Hebrew word for "Christians") shall proclaim on the mountains of Ephraim: 'Come, let us go up to Zion, to Adonai, our Source of Power (God)!'"

(7) Kee-kho amar YHVH: "Ranu leYa'akov simchah, vetzahalu berosh hagoyim! Hashmee'u halelu veimru: 'Hosha' YHVH et-'amekha, et sheayreet Yisrael.'

(8) Hinenee meyvee otam meyeretz Tzafon, vekibatzteem miyarketay-aretz - bam 'iveyr ufiseyach, harah veyoledet yachdav - kahal gadol yashuvu haynah.

(9) Bivkhee yavou, uvtachanuneem oveeleym oleecheym el-nachaley mayim, bederekh yashar lo yikashlu bah. Kee hayeetee leYisrael leahv.
VeEfrayim bekhoree hu."

(7) For thus Adonai is saying: "Sing out with a joyous dance for Jacob, and shout with the heads of the nations! So that is heard our praise as we say: 'Adonai is saving It's people, the remnant of Israel.'

(8) I will bring them in from the Land of the North, gathering them from the Ends of the Earth - the blind and the lame with them, even those pregnant and those who are in labor - in a vast group they shall return here.

(9) They shall be weeping as they come, with compassion I will guide them. I will lead them by rivers of water, by the straight road and they will not stumble. For I am like a Parent to Israel, Ephraim is my first-born."

(10) Shim'u devar-YHVH, goyim, vehageedu vaiyeem mimerchak. Veimru: 'Mezareh Yisrael yekabtzenu, ushamaro kero'eh 'edro.

(11) Kee fadah YHVH et-Ya'akov, ugalo miyad chazak mimenu.

(12) Uvau verinenu vimrom-Tzion, venaharu el-tuv YHVH - 'al-dagan ve'al-teerosh ve'al-yitzhar, ve'al-benai-tzon ubakar. Vehaytah nafsham kegan raveh, velo-yoseefu ledavah 'od.

(13) Az tismach betulah bemachol, uvachureem uzekeyneem yachdav. Vehafachtee evlam lesason, venechamteem vesimachteem meegonam.

(14) Veriveytee nefesh hacohaneem dashen, ve'amee et-tuvee yisba'u" neoom-YHVH.

(10) Listen to the word of Adonai, O nations, tell it in the islands afar off. Say: "The One who scattered Israel will gather them again, and will guard them as a shepherd [guards] his flock.

(11) For Adonai will ransom Jacob, and redeem him from [a nation] that is too strong for him.

(12) They shall come and shout joyously on the heights of Zion, and throng to the bounty of Adonai - over new grain and fresh oil, and over young sheep and cattle; their souls will be like a well watered garden; they shall never be hopeless again.

(13) Then shall a young girl dance with joy, also young men and old men together. I shall turn their mourning time into gladness, and I will comfort them and gladden them in their time of grief.

(14) I will satiate the souls of the Cohen-Priests with the fatty tail, and My people will enjoy My full bounty" - declares Adonai.

(15) Ko amar YHVH: "Kol beRamah nishmah, nehee bekhee tamrureem; Rachel mevakah 'al-benayha. Meyanah lehinacheym, 'al-benayha kee aynenu."

(16) Ko amar YHVH: "Min'ee kolekh mivekhee, ve'eynnayikh midim'ah; kee yesh sakhar lif'ulateykh," neum-YHVH: "Veshavu meyeretz oyev;"

(17) "Veyesh-tikvah leachareeteykh," neum-YHVH: "Veshavu vaneem ligvulam."

(15) Thus says Adonai: "A voice is heard in Ramah, wailing, and bitter weeping; it is Rachel weeping for her offspring. She refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone [out of the peoplehood of Israel].

(16) Thus Adonai is saying: "Restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from the shedding of tears; for there is a reward for your birthing-pains;" declares Adonai: "They shall return from the land of their enemies."

(17) "There is a hope for your future," declares Adonai, "Your offspring shall return to their own country."

(18) "Shamo'a shama'tee Efrayim mitnoded: 'Yisartanee vaivaseyr ke'eygel lo lumad. Hasheevaynee veashuvah, kee Atah, YHVH, Elohai.

(19) Kee-acharey shuvee nichamtee; Veacharey hivad'ee safaktee 'al-yarekh. Bashtee vegam-nikhlamtee, kee nasatee cherpat ne'urai.'

(20) Haveyn yakeer lee Efrayim, im yeled sha'ashu'eem! Kee-midai dabree bo, zakhor ezkerenu 'od. 'Al-keyn hamu mey'ai lo; racheym arachamenu," - neum YHVH.

(18) "I have repeatedly heard the lamenting of Ephraim: 'You have chastized me [enough], I am chastized like an untrained [oxen] calf. Receive me back [into the tribal fold]. Let me return, for You, O Adonai, are my Creator!

(19) I am repenting, I am regretting, and after I am instructed [in Torah], I will smite my thigh [ I will be circumcised into the covenant]; because I am ashamed and also humiliated, for I bear the disgrace of my youth[ful indescretion].'

(20) Truely, Ephraim is a dear son to Me, he is a darling child, whenever I speak of him, I remember him with good thoughts still. That is why My heart yearns for him; I will receive him back with mercy," - declares Adonai.


(21) Hatzeevee lakh tziyuneem, simee lakh tamrureem, shitee libeykh lamsilah. Derekh halakhet. Shuvee betulat Yisrael! Shuvee el-'araiyekh eyleh!

(22) 'Ad-matai titchamakeen, habat hashoveyvah? Kee-vara YHVH chadashah baaretz; nekeyvah tesoveyv gaver!

(21) [We shall] erect mile-markers; [we shall] set up sign-posts; so set your mind on the road, the path by which you traveled; turn back, young woman of Israel! Return to your own city.

(22) How long will you remain in rebellion, O capricious daughter? For Adonai is creating a new thing in the land, [it is this]; that the feminine is encompassing the strong [masculine] ones. [The feminine within the male has come out of the closet].


(23) ko-amar YHVH tsevaot, Elohay Yisrael: "'Od yomru et-hadabar hazeh beeretz Yehudah uv'arayv, beshuvee et-shevutam.
Yevarekhekha YHVH
Har hakodesh

(24) Veyashvu vah Yehudah vekhol-'arayv yachdav ikareem venas'u ba'eyder.

(25) Kee hirveytee nefesh 'aifah vekhol-nefesh daavah mileytee."

(23) Thus Adonai of Hosts, the Creative Power of Israel, is saying: "It shall again be said in the Land of Judah, and in its towns, when I restore them to their inheritance:
"Adonai bless you;
O Habitation of Justice;
Mountain of Holiness!"

(24) Judah and all of its towns are to be inhabitated by farmers and those who go out with flocks.

(25) For I will satisfy the weary soul, and I will replenish all who languish."

(26) 'Al-zot hekeetzotee vaereh ushnatee 'arvah lee

(26) At this I [Jeremiah] awoke and looking about [I realized] that my sleep had been pleasant to me [my dreams were good dreams].


(27) "Hinneh yameem baeem," neum-YHVH; "Vezarra'tee et-beyt Yisrael veet-beyt Yehudah zera' adam vezera' beheymah;

(28) Vehayah kaasher shakadetee 'aleyhem lintosh, velintotz, velaharos, ulhaaveed, ulharey'a. Ken eshkod 'aleyhem livnot velinto'a" neum-YHVH.

(29) "Bayameem haheym lo-yomru 'od avot akhlu voser veshiney vaneem tikhenah.

(30) Kee im-eesh ba'avono yamut kol-haadam haokhel haboser tikhenah shinav.

(31) Hinneh yameem baeem," neum YHVH; "vekharatee et-beyt-Yisrael veet-beyt Yehudah, bereet chadashah.

(32) Lo khabereet asher karatee et-avotam beyom hechezeekee vayadam lehotzeeam meyeretz Mitzrayim, asher-heymah heyfeyru et-bereetee, veanokhee ba'altee vam," neum YHVH.

(33) "Kee zot habreet asher ekhrot et-beyt Yisrael acharey hayameem haheym," neum YHVH, "natatee et-Toratee bekirbam ve'al-libam ekhtavenah vehayitee lahem leyEloheem veheymah yihyu-lee le'am.

(34) Velo yelamdu 'od eesh et-rey'eyhu veeeshet-acheev leymor d'u et-YHVH, kee-khulam yeyd'u otee lemiktanam ve'ad-gedolam," neum YHVH,

"kee eslach la'avonam, ulchatatam lo ezkar-'od."

(27) "Behold, a time is coming," declares ADONAI, "when I will sow the House of Israel and the House of Judah in with the seed of men and with the seed of cattle;

(28) and just as [it seemed] that I was watchful over them to uproot, demolish, destroy, ruin and do evil [to them], so will I [now] be watchful over them to build them and to plant them," declares Adonai.

(29) "In those days, they will no longer say [the false statement]: 'The parents ate sour grapes, and the children's teeth are blunted.'

(30) Every one shall die with his own sins: whoever eats sour grapes, his own teeth shall be blunted.

(31) Behold, days are coming," says Adonai, "when I will cut a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah [together].

(32) It will not be like the covenant that I made with their parents, when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, though I was betrothed to them," declares Adonai.

(33) "But this is the covenant which I will make with the House of Israel after these days;" says Adonai, "I will place My Torah teaching into their innermost being and inscribe it upon their hearts. At that time I will be their Creative Power and they will be My people.

(34) No longer will they need to missionize each other and say to each other: 'Heed [my version of] Adonai'; for every one of them, from the least of them to the greatest, shall all heed Me," declares Adonai.

"For I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their transgressions no more."

(35) Ko amar YHVH noteyn shemesh leor yomam, chukot yareyach vekhokhaveem leor laylah, roga' hayam vayehemu galav, YHVH Tzevaot shemo.

(36) "Im-yamushu hachukeem haeyleh milfanai," neum YHVH, "gam zera' Yisrael yishbetu mihyot goy lefanai kol-hayameem."

(35) Thus Adonai is saying, the One who established the sun [in the skies] for light by day, the laws that govern the moon and the stars for lights by night, the One who calms the seas and creates tsunamis, the One whose name is Adonai of Hosts.

(36) "If these [natural] laws should ever come to an end," declares Adonai, "only then would the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me for all time."

(37) Ko amar YHVH, "Im-yimadu shamayim milma'la, veyeychakru moseday-eretz lematah, gam-Anee emas bekhol-zera' Yisrael 'al-kol-asher 'asu," neum YHVH.

(38) "Hinneh, yameem [baeem]," neum YHVH, "venivnetah ha'eer leYHVH miMigdal Chananel Sha'ar haPinah;

(39) Veyatza 'od kav hamidah negdo 'al Giv'at Gareyv venasav Go'atah.

(40) Vekhol-hashdaymot 'al-nachal Kidron, 'ad-Pinat Sha'ar haSuseem mizrachah, kodesh leYHVH. Lo-yinateysh velo-yehareys 'od le'olam."

(37) Thus Adonai is saying, "If the heavens above cam be measured; and if the foundations of the earth below can be understood, maybe then would I reject all of the offspring of Israel for all that they have done," declares Adonai.

(38) "Behold! Days are coming," says Adonai, "when the city [of Jerusalem] shall be rebuilt for Adonai from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate,

(39) And the boundary line shall extend straight to the hill of Garev, then bend around towards Go'a.

(40) Then the entire Valley of the Corpses and Ashes, and all of the fields as far as the River of Kidron to the corner of the Gate of Horses on the east, shall be holy to Adonai. They shall never again be uprooted nor destroyed, forever."


The Mysterious Shaman

Once the Rebbe was sitting in his office when he heard a knock on the door.

He called out, "Come in."

In walked a man about 50 years old who asked if he could tell the Rebbe "his story."

The Rebbe was always wanting to hear a good story and so invited the man to sit down. He called for the Rebbetin to please bring them some glasses of mint tea. That done, he asked the man to proceed with his story.

The man began, "Back about 1991 or so, I received a phone call from a friend of mine who lived in Blanding, Utah. He informed me that he was dying and that he would like to have one last chance to win me back to the Mormon fold. I was once a very active Mormon, served a mission, and held the priesthood "rank" of a Seventy when I informed the Latter-day Saints Church that I was going to convert to Judaism, which I did April 17, 1977.

Needless to say, since this fellow had been a friend for about thirty years, and I was taught to respect a deathbed wish, I loaded my family in the car and we drove from Boise, Idaho to Blanding, Utah. We were up very early for family prayers, a custom in many Mormon homes, and soon after breakfast my friend and I began our dialogue-debate-argument-disputation, which lasted with breaks for his medications and visits by doctors and nurses, until dinner time.

Pretty soon I had had enough of all the dialogue, references to personal miracles, visions of angels, and testimonies of long dead ancestors, and I let the whole room know that I was going up to the cafe and drink myself several wonderful cups of strong coffee. And thus I got up and left.

I went to the cafe, drank some coffee, and started reading the Ma'ariv (evening) prayers from my Spanish-Portuguese Prayer Book, when I heard a voice over my shoulder say,
"I know that this page is written in English, but what language is that on the other page?"

Oh boy, Here we go again, I thought, another damned missionary. My hackles were up now and I was prepared for a no-holds barred argument as to just exactly why it was that the Mormon concepts of many things they believed were not in accordance with the Hebrew Scriptures. So I says,
"It is Hebrew."
The obviously Indian fellow then asks me, "Are you a Jew?"
I reply, "YES!" He then blows me away with his next words.
He asks "How would you like to help me bring up the sun in the morning?"

Now I've been asked to help with lots of things before, both legal and illegal, but this was the first time that I had ever been asked to help bring up the sun. "You bet!," I replied, "what do I have to do?"
So he asked me if I had any ritual items that I use to pray with. My tallit (prayer shawl) and tephillin (phylacteries) were back at the house in my car, so he asked me to go get them, which I did.

We drove a couple of hours down into Arizona, with me jabbering like a jay bird all the while, telling him of my experience at my Mormon friends house, and in turn, he told me of his experiences with Episcopalian missionaries, schools, and with Mormon missionaries and programs designed to make over Indians into "pseudo-White men". Pretty soon, he stopped his pickup, which he had been driving down a real bumpy road. I couldn't see anything but shadows near the road, it was so dark. You could see sagebrush and Juniper whenever a curve came up.

He took a flashlight from under the seat, and asked me to follow him. I did. I had to hurry as he was moving right along. I kept tripping over things in the dark, but somehow, he and I ended up in the same place.

We were standing before a hole in the earth that had a ladder sticking out the top. Even before I could ask if we were going down it, he was headed down into the darkness. Somehow I summoned up the courage to follow him.

NOW, thoughts came to me that maybe this stranger was a thief and murderer who would kill me, and since no one knew where I was, including me, my body would never be found. Maybe I'd gone from bad to worse! Oy! Oy! Oy!

As soon as I got to the bottom of the ladder, I noticed that, because of the light from the flashlight, I could see that we were in some sort of round room with mud or dirt walls. My "friend" was gathering smallish stones from various places around the room, which he formed into a circle. He filled the inner space with small twigs and sticks, which were also scattered around the room. He then lit the fire and taking something from a pouch that he was wearing on a thing around his neck, he sprinkled it on the fire. A pleasant aroma came from whatever it was that he took from the pouch.

He then looked at me and asked if I was ready to do my praying.

I asked, "What do you want me to do?"

He said "You're a Jew, aren't you? Do whatever it is that you Jews do when you pray to bring in the morning."

So I took out my Siddur and set it near the fire where I could see the words (I was still far from having the prayers committed to memory as yet), I took out my tallit that had been given to me by Rabbi Solomon Maimon, a direct descendent of the Rambam (Maimonides), said the blessing, and put it on. I then took my tephillin, unwrapped them, put the one on my right arm, saying the blessings, then the other between my eyes on the forehead, finally the signing of the "dalet" (as is the Sephardi custom) in the palm of my hand, with the last of the strap.

My companion had taken out an eagle's wing, and a small rattle. He also produced a small drum that he proceeded to beat while he chanted his monotonous melody. Aye, yai, yai, yai. Aye, yai yai, yai. Over and over again.

SO, looking into my Siddur, I began "Mah tobu ohalechah Yaakob, mishkanotechah Yisrael" according to the melodies of the Boise Jewish community. However, before I got very far, I got caught up in the chanting of my Indian friend... "Sheh... MAH...Yis... Ra... El, ADO... nai... EL... O...h ay... nu, ... ADO... nai, ... Ech ...ADD!!!" (to the same tune as was being chanted by my shaman friend).

After a while, when I realized that I was about to finish the prayers, I wondered what I would do then. Then it came, those final words, "B'yom hahu yihyeh Adonai echad u'shmo echad! (In that day shall God be one and God's Name be one)" I was finished.
And as by a miracle, so was my Indian friend.

AT THAT VERY MOMENT, the sun came up over a place on the far horizon and a shaft of sunlight filled the room we were in as though someone had thrown a bomb of sunlight into the room. I was suitably impressed. It was one of the three most spiritual times in my life. ( The other two were when my first wife and our children had been sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple, and then when I went to the Portland Mikvah for my Jewish conversion.)

I looked around to see if my friend was also impressed and was surprised to see that he had put out the fire, scattered the ashes, and was moving the stones into their spots in the corners of the room, after which he wiped away any trace of our having been there. He would be back to do this again, come morning. It was his job."

The man sat back in his chair and took a few sips from his tea, and waited for the Rebbe's response.

After a bit, when it appeared that the Rebbe was not going to say anything, he said, "Tell me Rebbe, what do you make of this experience? This Indian medicine man taught me more about accepting other people and their traditions, and about devotion to a tradition and Path than anyone else who I have ever met before him."

"Well," said the Rebbe, "I have prayed AS A JEW in Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, and Seventh Day Adventist Churches. I have also prayed AS A JEW in a Moslem mosque and with the Bahai; at Metaphysical Churches and Gay-Lesbian religious services.

I am fully confident that one need not feel threatened by other people's methods of achieving connection with the Divine. One can follow their own Heart-Path while helping others form a prayer community.

As the Prophet Micah said in chapter 4, verses 1 - 5 of his book, about his HOPE of a future time when there would no longer be a world that accepted war, hunger, displacement, ignorance, etc. as options for just action, for in that Messianic, Shekhina filled Age, 'All the people will walk each in the Names of its Gods, and we will walk in the Name of Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh our God forever and ever.' So what will be the difference between then and now? It must be only that we will all, every one of us, come to realize that despite all these names that humankind has for it's gods, We all actually worship The One God. And we can only truely worship the One God when we treat each other with love, compassion and justice. After all, words do not mean anything unless accompanied by justice in action, for there is only God, nothing else. All is God"

With that the Rebbe made a motion that signaled that he was about to give the man his Rebbe's Blessing.

He moved over to the chair the man was sitting in and put both hands on the man's head.

Then he sang, "Yivarekhe'kha YAH yishmarekhe'kha; Ya'air YAH panav elekha vichunekha; Yisa YAH panav elekha, v'yaseym lekha SHALOM-bizkeh hozjho- Peace-balance-beauty.

I bless you that you are always open to accepting that every person you meet is filled with God. May you always be watched over and guided as you journey through this world. May you only see God's Shikhinah Presence when you look into the eyes of any person, including yourself in the mirror. And, may you be totally centered, balanced in your way of being in the world. With this I bless you. Ameyn."

With that, he dismissed the man and each went their seperate ways.


Once upon a time, it happened that the EcoRebbe was attending a Kallah for Rabbis.

During a lunch break in between the sessions, he sought a shady place to eat his box lunch. He spotted a tree under which sat several people eating their lunches. He decided to join them.

As he arrived at the tree, he realized that there was a person sitting there who he did not know, so he introduced himself. One of the other Rabbis sitting there spoke up and said; "Rebbe, this is Rav Lachish from Idaho. He has an interesting story to tell. Maybe he will tell it to you."

So, the Rebbe sat down and opening his lunch, said; "So, nu, what is this 'interesting story' you have to tell, Rabbi?"

Rabbi Lachish smiled a bit sheepishly and responded; "In this morning's session, in the class that I was attending, the teacher asked those of us who were not born Jewish to please share with the class our reasons for coming to Judaism. When my turn came, I told my story."

"You see, I was born to a West Virginia-Kentucky family that had a long tradition of racial intolerence. My ancestors were Bushwackers and Confederate soldiers during the War Between the States. After the War, they returned to their homes and suffered through the Reconstruction days of imposed non-citizenship status for all who had bore weapons against the Union, while the blacks who had previously been slaves, were given all the privilages previously enjoyed only by the white politicians.

As the blacks had not been prepared for such roles of responsibility, they often went to excesses when opportunity arose. This created quite an anomosity among the white men who could not even vote nor carry a weapon legally.

A group of these men, former members of General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Cavalry, decided to do something about this perceived injustice against white men. They came together and formed the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based upon the ancient Scottish secret warrior society that fought against the English when they felt that acts of injustice (real or perceived) were being committed against the Scottish people.

These former soldiers of the Confederacy began to terrorize the black freedmen, killing some by shooting them or lynching them. They rode at night wearing robes and hoods made from white bed sheets so as to resemble ghosts. This would further frighten the black ex-slaves, who were quite superstitious.

Eventually, the U. S. Army succeeded in putting down the Klans in the South. However, the legacy of the Klan continued to be passed down through the generations. My great-granddaddy was a Klansman; my granddaddy was a Klansman; my daddy was a Klansman; and in the mid-60's I became a Klansman.

I was living in Portland, Oregon at the time. I had recently gotten out of the Navy and the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. I contacted my cousin in West Virginia who gave me the address of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia at Stone Mountain. My cousin also sent me my granddaddy's Klan robes from the 20's.

I contacted the head of the Klan in Portland, who was a lawyer and a Presbyterian deacon. He had me come visit him at his home. Later on, he inducted me into the Klan with me wearing my granddaddy's robes.

As the Klan was not openly operating in Oregon except to show a presence during Civil rights demonstrations and marches, the Klan operated behind the front organization "The National Party of America," which held regular monthly meetings.

At these meetings, the leaders would show films, feature speakers, and presentations showing why and how communism was taking over America under the direction of the Zionist Jews and using the black Civil Rights Movement as its excuse.

Although my family was racist and oppossed to all rights for blacks, we had not heard anti-Semitism before. This was a new twist for us. The only Jews we knew were those in the Bible (Old & New Testaments).

After listening to this anti-Semitism for a couple of years, and regularly being involved in protesting the rights of blacks, including getting myself arrested and even beaten up a couple of times, I began to question the motives of the Klan's propaganda and its accuracy.

My Church's religious leaders also spoke to me about my ultra-right wing view points and whether they represented positions that were consistant with the positions of my Church and it's understanding of the scriptures.

Under the direction of my religious leaders, I began to study the scriptures and the history of the Jews in relation to Christianity. I also began to take Hebrew lessons to better understand the "Old Testament" scriptures. I read the books in the "Judaism" section of the local library.

I made contact with Jewish religious leaders and asked them questions about what Judaism taught about this or that position and made comparisons between what the Jewish leaders told me and what the Klan leaders told me. Most of all, I checked the sources that were given to see if what I was being told was accurate. I began to notice great discrepencies between what the Klan said that Jews believed and practiced and what the Jewish sources said that they believed and practiced.

I decided to attend a Jewish service to see for myself how Jews worshipped God. Therefore, I looked in the phonebook for the nearest Jewish synagogue, which was the Sephardic Orthodox synagogue. The next Friday night I attended the Welcoming of the Sabbath service. On Saturday morning, I returned for the Sabbath Day Torah service.

The next week I attended the Conservative synagogue for Friday night and Sabbath Day services, and the next week I went to the Reform services.

Eventually, I began to take Talmud-Torah classes at the Sephardic Orthodox synagogue, where I was the only non-Jew present. The other people present made me feel welcome and I soon became actively involved in the religious discussions. My book readings had helped me to understand which subjects were sensitive to Jewish ears and so I actually spent most of my time just listening to the discussions.

I began to realize that there was a wide gap between what I had been told that Jews believed and what Jews actually did believe, AND what range of beliefs that Jews were permitted to believe by their religion.

As I became familiar with the inner meanings of Hebrew words, I began to realize that there was a vast gap between the English translations of the Hebrew Bible and what the Hebrew itself was saying. I also found that the Hebrew allowed for a greater range of understanding of what a text could mean than did the English translations.

I also found that it was a Christian thing to accept the literal meaning of a text verbaitim, while it was a Jewish thing to argue with the text, twisting it this way and that way to wring greater meaning from it. In my way of thinking, this meant that the Christian way of interpreting texts was to see what the text once said, and then to see if it was still applicable in the "Christian Age," while the Jewish way was to see if the text could still be lived in this day and age as a living Torah, by giving the text one of the alternate understandings.

As I began to wrestle within myself with these ideas that were so foreign to me, I also began to question every basic principle that I previously had held as sacrosanct; ESPECIALLY the concept that one race or one religion was dearer to God than another.

I had studied comparative Christian and Jewish texts, customs, people, beliefs and understandings for about five years when I decided that I now wished to become a Jew!

This decided, I contacted some Rabbi friends of mine only to be told NOT TO CONSIDER CONVERSION! There was no requirement by God for one to be a Jew unless one had been born a Jew. AND, as I well knew, Jews were capable of being subjected to persecution only for being Jews and for no other reason. God required that a person be RIGHTEOUS, not that a person be Jewish. "A righteous pagan was closer to God than was an unrighteous High Priest."

One after another of the Rabbis I knew refused to teach me for conversion because I would not, and could not, require that my Christian wife also convert and become a Jew. They could not teach for conversion into an intermarriage.

Eventually, I did find a Rabbi who would teach me for conversion, with my wife's permission. He required that I become fully active in living according to the Jewish religious lifestyle based upon calendar, prayerbook, synagogue attendence and participation, giving to charity, and study of the sacred texts.

After another five years of living as a non-Jewish practitioner of Judaism, I was adopted fully into the Jewish peoplehood and tribal religion.

Nine years later, I began to study for the Rabbinate and after several years of study, I became accepted as a Rabbi and received s'mikah. So there you are, Rebbe, my story in a nutshell."

"WOW!," replied the Rebbe, "Rabbi Lachish, you are a wonder! What a story of hope and transition! Your story teaches us that if you can change and repent from the path of hatred and bigotry that you once traveled, then others ought to also be able to change and become tolerent and accepting of others. Your story fills me with a hope for the future of this planet. Thank you for sharing it with me."
(Story ADAPTED from a true story titled "From Klansman To Landsman" that appeared in the Pumbedisa Magazine.

The Royal Toilet Cleaner

A Tale by Reb Gershon Caudill of El Cerrito, CA

I would like to tell you a story: Once upon a time, King Solomon was instructed by HASHEM to build the Holy Temple. It was designed by such great artisians that it became known as the 8th Wonder of the world. However, in a short time, it was brought to King Solomon’s attention that there was a problem with the Holy of Holies, the Kadosh Hakadoshim. "What is this major problem?" asked the King, of theKohen Hagadol, the Highest Priest.

"The problem, Your Majesty, is that the Holy of Holies gets dusty and cobwebs greet me when I open the Holy Doors on Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement." responded the Kohen Gadol. "It is not befitting that the Most Sacred Space on earth should be so dirty. Besides, I am allergic to dust and it causes me to sneeze."

"So easily fixed" replied Wise King Solomon, "Get one of the Lesser Kohenim, or the Levites, to go in and clean the place up!"

"No way, Your Grace! The Holy Priests and the Holy Lesser Kohenim are afraid to set foot in the place as they just KNOW that they are not pure enough to do the job. Besides, dusting and cleaning is not a job befitting a Holy Member of The Holy Priesthood. You must ask GOD to magically keep the place clean," begged the Kohen Gadol.

So King Solomon called in The Holy Shaman-Prophet and presented the Prophet with the dilemma. "Go to HASHEM and ask what we should do," pleaded King Solomon of the Holy Prophet. So the Holy Prophet went to the Sacred Spot on a cliff overlooking the city of Jerusalem and presented the problem before HASHEM. Soon, King Solomon was advised that the Holy Prophet was awaiting to present the King with GOD’s response. "So NU," asked the King, "What did HASHEM say?"

"HASHEM laughed, Your Majesty! HASHEM said that this problem was within your wisdom to solve, and besides the Kohen Gadol should have used the Urim and Thummim to pick a Priest to do the cleaning, but now it is too late, HASHEM will not accept a Holy Kohen or Levite to clean the Holy of Holies. You are to find just the right person for the job," stated the Holy Shaman-Prophet.

So King Solomon fretted and fretted, and stewed and stewed, until finally he needed to go to his Royal Toilet. As he approached his Royal Toilet, he heard a off-key niggun being emitted from the Royal Toilet Throne Room. "Yai, yai, yai, yai, dai, dai, dai, dai, bum, bum, bum, bum!", came forth the song.

Suddenly the Royal Toilet Cleaner stepped out of the Beyt Hakisse, with his cleaning tools, and

bumped into the King. "Oy! I am SO sorry Your Majesty! I did not realize that you were here", stated the

Royal Cleaner.

"Why are you so happy? Why do you sing as you clean the Toilet?"

"Why, Your Majesty, it is such an honor to be given the responsibility to see that you have a clean john to use, that I cannothelp but feel joy as I clean it. My heart just bubbles over with joy!" said the Royal Cleaner.

"Aha", thought King Solomon, "HASHEM WAS right! The answer lay right under my nose." "You will no longer be the Holy Toilet Cleaner! You will teach another to clean my Toilet. From now on you are given

s’michah to clean the Holy of Holies in the Holy Temple," dictated King Solomon.

And so it was, The Holy Royal Toilet Cleaner, now The Holy Holy of Holies Cleaner, went into The Holy of Holies each year before Yom Kippur and dusted and cleaned the Gold Cheribum, The Holy Ark, The Holy Walls, The Holy Floor. He removed the wee spiders carefully, making sure not to kill even one of them. Then he swept out of The Holy of Holies, all the cobwebs. During all this could be heard the Sacred Niggun,

"Yai, yai, yai, yai, dai, dai, dai, dai, bum, bum, bum, bum!"


As the Rebbe pulled his car up to the gate of the "farm" where he was to perform a wedding, he reflected a moment on what the country had probably looked like prior to the coming of the White settlers two hundred years ago.

The farm was located a two hour drive north from San Francisco just off the scenic highway 101, and so was in the midst of the Redwood Country's rolling hills and giant trees.

From the gate, the Rebbe could see the little knoll on which the wedding would be performed. It was a clear, grassy area that looked as if it had often been used for such events. After all, the "farm" specialized in being
a facility for holding sacred events.

The Rebbe was early, as he did not wish to have a group present for what he needed to do. It was his intention to sanctify the area in which he would later perform the ritual of unifying a loving couple in the covenant of holy

He parked his car, and taking his Walking Stick and Medicine Bag, he proceeded to walk up the pathway towards the wedding knoll.

When he arrived on the summit of the knoll, he first looked around to take in the site on which he stood; to get his bearings and place himself in relation to the rest of the Universe, and to determine where the Four Directions of East, South, West, and North were.

After he had determined this, he sat on the ground, reached in his bag and pulled out a smaller bag. From this bag he produced a large prayer-shawl and a small leather box with a loop of leather thong attached to it, which he
lay in front of him. He wrapped himself in the prayer-shawl while he recited a prayer and took a minute to meditate. Then he produced from the smaller bag another small leather box with a long leather thong attached to it. Again reaching into his larger bag, the Rebbe pulled out a small Prayer Book. Each leather box had a cardboard cover which the Rebbe now removed as he slipped his left arm into the loop of the second leather box with the long strap,
which strap the Rebbe wrapped counterclockwise seven times around his bicep and forearm. He wrapped the rest of the thong around the palm of his hand as he said a prayer.

Now, the Rebbe placed the other box on his forehead above his hairline and affixed the loop around his head so that the knot was at the nape of his neck.

The Rebbe then unwound the thong around his hand and crossed it to his finger where he wound it three times, then brought it back to his thumb and around his palm three times. As he was doing this, he recited several prayers.

Thus adorned, the Rebbe now stood up and taking the Walking Stick, he held the end of the stick to his forehead, with the other end on the ground, as he recited a prayer. He then put the end of the Walking Stick on his chest over his heart area and recited another prayer of intention.

Now, taking the Walking Stick with both hands and holding the point firmly on the ground, the Rebbe began to draw a large circle, and as he drew the circle in the dust and grass, he began to sing the chant: "Ana B'koakh -
Gidulat; Y'meenekha Tateer - Tz'rurah, etc..." As he finished chant, the large circle was also completed.

The Rebbe placed the Walking Stick to the side, and reaching into the Medicine Bag he brought forth a bag of corn meal. Starting in the North of the circle, and pouring a small stream of corn meal on the ground, the Rebbe
began to draw a mandala, using the stream of corn meal as his medium. He drew a counterclockwise spiral that near the center of the circle became a flame design that became a clockwise spiral to the Southern edge of the circle.

Now, he went to the Northeast of the circle and placed a line that went from the North to the East. From this line he drew three more lines towards the center of the circle.

He went to the Southwest of the circle and drew a line from the South towards the West, and from this line he drew four lines towards the center of the circle.

Now, he proceeded to move to the West and drew, with his corn meal, two parallel lines from West towards the center, with two lines that connected the two.

Moving now to the East, the Rebbe drew a box in the East area of the circle.

The Rebbe now put the remaining corn meal back into the Medicine Bag, and took from the bag a large feather. He then stepped back into the circle without concern that the designs that he had just drawn were being messed up, and going to the South area of the circle, he held the feather up and recited the Name of God; YHVH in Hebrew. Then he proceeded to move to the WEST area where he recited: VHYH. Then he moved to the North, where he recited: HVYH, and then he moved to the East, where he recited: VYHH; and finally he moved into the center where he held the feather towards the sky and sang out: YVHH, then touching the ground with the feather, he sings: HYVH.

Then, the Rebbe turned towards the East and sang: "Sh'ma Israel, ADONAI Elohaynu, ADONAI echad!" and stepped from the circle. He removed the leather thong from his hand. Then removed the box and thong from his head,
wound the thong around the side of the box and put the cardboard box top on the leather box. This he put back into its pouch. Now he removed the leather strap from his arm, and wrapped the strap around the now covered box and put
it into the pouch, and put the pouch back into the Medicine Bag.

From the Medicine Bag he now produced a large Shofar. He put the shofar up to his lips and gave forth a mighty long blast. He blew the shofar blast three times.

Below the knoll, a group of people holding in their arms the poles of a Wedding Chuppa began to move towards the top of the knoll where the Rebbe was. The Rebbe directed them where to set up the Wedding Chuppa within the
Sacred Circle, while the guests of the Wedding began to gather and claim seats in folding chairs set up around the Chuppa area.

Now the Rebbe again put the Shofar to his lips and blew forth a mighty long blast three more times. From the area below the knoll the Groom and his parents began to proceed towards the Wedding Chuppa, followed a little later, by the Bride and her parents.

As the Bride arrived at the Wedding Chuppa, she began to make seven circles around the Groom while the Rebbe sang a blessing. Then the Groom also circled the Bride seven times while the Rebbe sang a blessing.

And then, as the two faced each other, the Rebbe took up a cup of wine
and began the Wedding chants: "Sabrey maranan! Barukh Atah ADONAI, elohaynu, etc.."


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