by Melanie Gruenwald
Today we celebrate Rosh Hodesh Tammuz, the beginning of the month of Tammuz on the Jewish calendar. Jewish time is marked by the cycles of the moon. A new moon begins a new month. Just at the moment when the light of the moon is most diminished, it begins to grow again. We are reminded to find light in the darkness.
This past year and a half, has felt like one long moon cycle. March 2020 through now, we have taught our classes exclusively on line, and have not been able to welcome students to the physical Kabbalah Experience offices. We have, however, built national (and international) communities through an online experience.
Diminishing of the moon.
March 2020. A sudden departure from habit. Stillness surrounds us. Fear of the unknown. George Floyd. Racial violence. Protests. How long will this darkness last?
A sliver remains.
We navigate ZOOM and on-line learning. We embrace the pause. We settle into newer and slower routines. We learn about FaceTime and embrace face time. We find more time at home, with our loved ones. Stillness nurtures more intentional connections.
The moon waxes.
Recognizing privilege. Roofs over our heads. Steady income. Food on the table. Appreciating health. Taking nothing for granted. We continue to exist in time outside of space. We can’t gather as community. We don’t learn in three dimensions. We only know what our friends look like from the neck up(!)
And further, it grows.
Vaccines are approved- for the elderly, for other adults, for youth….The world begins to re-open. We can hug people in person and host in our backyard. Small gatherings resume. Rules around masks are somewhat confusing. Do we or don’t we? Where do we wear our masks, and with whom?
We find ourselves more comfortable in our own physical space. Social anxiety rears its head, as we navigate the rules and norms around re-entry. Those of us that are more comfortable at home, learn to immerse ourselves in the outside world again. We slowly peel back the masks of self-protection and solitude. Those of us that have been withering without human contact, learn to navigate this new normal, as well.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in The Sabbath, reminds of striving for sanctity in time, and not being slaves to toiling in creation of space and the ‘things’ that define us.
Most of us seem to labor for the sake of things of space. As a result we suffer from a deeply rooted dread of time and stand aghast when compelled to look in its face. Time to us is a sarcasm, a lock treacherous monster with a jaw like a furnace incinerating every moment of our lives. Shrinking, therefore, from facing time, we escape for shelter to things of space. (pg. 5)
A lesson from this past year has been one of experiencing, embracing, and paying attention to time. Our lives continue to bring us cycles of light and darkness. We are now in a period of waxing. The light is growing.
As Kabbalah Experience re-opens our physical doors this summer, I hope we can remember to hold the present moment. We can pay attention to the cycles of time and the phases of the moon. We should not be limited by our physical space. We should embrace the sanctuaries that our year of ‘being in time’ has presented to us.