עִבְדוּ אֶת־יהוה בְּשִׂמְחָה בֹּא
Serve YHVH with joy,
Come into the presence of YHVH with song (Psalms 100:2)
“A person should make ladders for herself by which she can sometimes ascend to heaven.”
—(Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro, the Piasetzna Rebbe)
The Jewish spiritual path provides us with holy days and celebrations, as well as practices including learning, prayer and meditation, which serve as ladders allowing us to encounter the Mystery that surrounds us as well as the Mystery that dwells within us.
My practice is inspired by the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov and the early Hasidic masters: To open the heart and touch the soul with niggunim (wordless melodies), chant, dance, and stories, and to awaken to the joy of the journey. These are the rungs of my ladder.
Shabbat Morning Davening
Daven is a Yiddish word which means “praying.” It is, however, a special kind of praying. It is prayer in which the body, the heart, the mind, and the soul are all praying together. It is prayer that includes singing and chanting, whispering prayers and spacious silence, and sometimes even movement and dancing. As we daven, we invite the whole range of our emotions to awaken within us. It is the kind of prayer in which our deep yearning and great joy meet and embrace.
Our davening will include a short Torah reading that explores the secret meanings that the Torah portion reveals through our discussion. After the davening, there will be socializing, chatting, and food.
If you have never participated in davening before, I invite you to try it. It will change the way you think of prayer.
Saturday, September 10, 10 am -12:00, in a comfortable outdoor space in San Mateo, with a light lunch to follow. To register, please email email@example.com.
Reb Lavey’s Joyous Learning Table is a spirited and soulful Shabbat afternoon gathering rooted in the traditions of the early Hasidic masters. We’ll tell stories that touch the heart and soul, and sing niggunim (melodies) of both joy and yearning. This joyous gathering is known as a “tisch” (table, in Yiddish) and is a lovely way to celebrate with friends and community as the Shabbat flows into the new week. Be sure to have some food and spirits (or non-alcoholic beverages if you prefer) on hand so we can say le’chaim (to life) to each other.
Next gathering: TBA, 4:30 – 5:45 pm (Pacific Time) and then on the second Saturday every other month. Please join my email list if you would like notifications.