Archive for May, 2013

Tonight we counted Day 41 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and six days of the counting. Day 41 is referred to as Yesod sheh b’Yesod, Foundation within our Foundation.

Building a foundation means you have to hear your voice and the voices that surround you too.

Building a foundation means you have to hear your voice and the voices that surround you too.

Life is full of building blocks that we need in order to navigate all aspects of life including nature.  With all the moving parts that encompass life, each part of the whole has to be developed as fully as possible so that all parts of the foundation are solid.

As a writer,

  • each word matters.
  • sentences need to be concise.
  • paragraphs need clear sentences to develop an idea.
  • each paragraph has to blend with the words that come before and the words that will come after it.
  • every sentence, every paragraph needs to support the ultimate goal of the writing.

As a environmentalist,

  • each of us have to be conscious of how we walk in the world.
  • take small steps as we develop the skills to move forward within the larger world.
  • learn to listen to all sides of the different issues before taking on a specific issue.
  • formulate plans for how you can get involved in doing the holy work of tikkun olam (repairing the world)
  • work with a team or create a team that will support each other to make a difference by meeting ‘the goal’.
  • follow your heart and mind while doing what it takes to make a difference.
  • don’t give in or allow people that doubt you to drive you to silence.

As a Jewish leader,

  • one needs to know the subject matters that are part of your leadership or how to work with what isn’t  yet known.
  • be sincere in your work with others.
  • be able to be kind to those you work with as well as yourself.
  • know that being a leader means knowing how to listen to what others are saying without needing to control each step of any process.
  • don’t be afraid to lead.
  • loving Judaism should be a given.
  • realize that you don’t have to navigate the work alone.
  • be a role model of integrity, but not perfection.

I could do the same exercise and develop the different foundations for my roles as a mother, a friend, a teacher, a dreamer, an artist, a political activist, a Progressive Jew, a dog owner, etc.  Life is full of building blocks that develop all that we do as human beings.

With all that we navigate in our lives, may we have the fortitude to build foundations with knowledge and thoughtfulness.

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Tonight we counted Day 40 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and five days of the counting. Day 40 is referred to as Hod sheh b’Yesod, Expansiveness within our Foundation.

When you are truly living expansively, your creativity soars and the strength of your foundation grows.


A good illustration of this comes from Pete Seeger, who celebrated his 85th birthday this week.  Seeger’s song, If I had a Hammer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSWQfCkduu0 has touched many of our lives and compelled many of us to reach outside of ourselves to make a difference in the world.  At nearly every rally I have ever been to, we have sung that song.  Good folk music like that of Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Phil Ochs, and Emmas Revolution-among others-inspires people to actively engage in tikkun olam (repairing the world).

With each step we take, may our world expand for good.

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Tonight we counted Day 39 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and four days of the counting. Day 39 is referred to as Netzach sheh b’Yesod, Endurance within Foundation.

Living life is a full time job; you never get a day off for good behavior; it just doesn’t happen. The moving parts always keep moving and even that which seems like rest ultimately leads to movement.

Endurance is choosing to thrive while always developing the foundation that makes up your life.

May each step we take guide us towards open doorways leading to light.


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Tonight we counted Day 38 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and three days of the counting. Day 38 is referred to as Tiferet sheh b’Yesod, Beauty within Foundation.

Have you ever noticed how perfect flowers are in their own environment? They always look at home within the soil and their surroundings. Their beauty always takes my breath away; they seem to always belong exactly where they are at any moment.

Monkey Flowers Photo courtesy of Gary Tenen

Monkey Flowers
Photo courtesy of Gary Tenen

With each step, I pray for the ability to blend into my surroundings exactly as I am.  For so many years of my life, I was trapped in a body that was never home.  Over time I have slowly allowed my true soul to shine as I am.  Mostly I think of myself as a wildflower or maybe a weed trailing in every direction.  I love weeds.  Some people want to reign in their beauty or kill them, but in the end of the day, weeds running wild signify life.  Sounds like pure ecstasy for me, life.

May each of us find the beauty within ourselves wherever we are planted.



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Tonight we counted Day 37 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and two days of the counting. Day 37 is referred to as Gevurah sheh b’Yesod, Strength within Foundation.

Emerging from all that life has to offer is similar to trying to navigate a labyrinth. Sometimes it can feel daunting to find the inner-strength and the character to travel the right path and to do the holy work of living.  Breathing deeply and being the best person I can be is part of building a strong foundation.  Drawing on the strength from within my foundation comes from walking gently and doing my part to make certain that I am doing the best I can for myself.  Only then can I do for others. Creating a beautiful foundation happens after one takes care of themselves so that they can then ultimately do for others.

Having the strength to “plant seeds of joy and light” is ultimately how one builds a strong foundation with inner strength.  My teacher Rabbi Shefa Gold instilled this very concept in me with her many teachings; in truth she wasn’t alone, I have had many great teachers.  Planting Seeds, one sacred chant composed  Rabbi Shefa Gold has impacted my spirit strongly.  It is my reminder that life’s holy work begins with planting seeds and showering those seeds with joy and light.

Let's Dig A Hole

Plant the seeds of Joy and Light; Tend them carefully day and night,
In this soil so dark and deep, I plant the dreams that Love will reap.         (Psalm 97)


May we all have the capacity to plant the seeds that will ultimately reap great rewards for ourselves, our community, and our world; may we find gevurah sheh b’yesod, strength within foundation to make this happen.

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Tonight we counted Day 36 of the Omer, which is 5 weeks and one day of the counting. Day 36 is referred to as Chesed sheh b’Yesod, Loving-kindness within Foundation.  

Life can be really hard.  Yet regardless of what is going on internally or externally within our lives, we need to consciously create a yesod/foundation for ourselves that rises above “our stuff”, good or bad, and acts within a place of chesed/loving-kindness.

Years ago, I changed my last name to Gal-Or which means wave of light.  Naming myself meant that I could choose a name that honored who I was and who I wanted to be.  Empowering. By selecting the name Gal-Or, I was reminding myself to be a light to others and to find light within each person and every scenario that life showed me.  This isn’t always easy; sometimes life is too hard, but I do believe light can be found after the darkness lifts.

To me being a light to others means making certain that I live within chesed sheh b’yesod, loving-kindness within Foundation.  Spreading our light, our warmth, our smiles can always make a difference for good.  My hope is that I spread light more than not as I walk in the world.

Photo courtesy of Eliezar Kaplan

Photo courtesy of Eliezar Kaplan

May each of us share our light and touch people in positive ways as we live our lives.

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