The Hebrew Letter "Hey,"
bound to the month of Nisan.
First month of the Jewish year. Early spring.

As the earth rouses, an awakening begins.
Trees flower.
Rains coax the grasses to grow.

Worlds stir again to life.

Calling, that it is time for us as well
to Re-Create ourselves.

This is the New Year of the Months.
The moon of leaving slavery,
the moon of crossing the sea.

Her pathways lead us
to the doorway of the house of this moon,
chayyim
life.

Chayyim, the vision,
chayyim, the hope,
chayyim, the prayer.

 And so to our sides comes
Judah, tribe of this moon, 
Leah's fourth son,
whose presence reassures us,
calls up gratitude. *

For struggle he did in his life,
but through strength of character, exercise of will,
he turned and changed course,
ultimately,
prevailing.

Suffering from the death of two sons, he withheld his last son from Tamar,
castigating her, yet unbeknownst to him, lying with her,
later he claimed his misdeed.
And he continued giving voice,
preventing the slaying of his brother Joseph,
serving as surety before his father for Benjamin's safety,
and standing in Benjamin's defense in the face of power.*

Just as the Lion embroidered upon his flag,
so he lived in time 
with nobility*
becoming a fruitful vine.*
From him, kings did spring.*

Towards the rising sun he stood,
*
from "whence light comes into this world."

So Judah takes our hand,
he who lost his way, and then

emerged, shining,
in splendor.*

Notes:
*' We do thank-splendor: Genesis 29:35. " This time I shall praise God. Thus she named him. Judah."
Hebrew words sometimes have other words tucked inside them.
In Hebrew the word for 'splendor' (Hod)  can be seen in the center of Judah's name.

*'Struggle he did in his life... defending his brothers': See Genesis 37:26f; Genesis 38; Genesis 43:1f;
Genesis 43:8; Genesis 44:18f;  Genesis 44:30; Genesis 46:28.

* 'A Lion embroidered on his flag'..Midrash Rabbah Numbers 2:7
*' A fruitful vine he...from him kings..." Genesis 49:8; Midrash Rabbah Numbers 2:10
*Genesis 49: Judah is a lion's whelp...the scepter shall not depart from Judah...
binding his foal to the vine....

*King's did spring,
David and Solomon.
*Midrash Rabbah Numbers 2:10: The Holy One blessed be said to him: Moses! On the eastern side...
*
Round the Mishcan,
*East, linked with Spirit, where the Menorah shone,
from which light goes into the world, shall be Judah. From whom issues royalty.
*'Messiah shall come' Maimonides

We launch
with 
our regel yamin, our right foot,
part of the body linked with this moon.

For this is a moon of action,
and we are taught to move out
onto the road.

To leave
that which limits us.
To hurry
towards the Sea.


We're urged to take our first step
with our right foot.
The right associated with compassion.


We're taught
to walk with gentleness, yet
with surety.

Notes:
*The leaving of slavery is seen as a daily life practice.
So we see in our prayerbook the Song of the Sea, Shirat HaYam, and Mi Chamocha,
the words spoken once on dry land. We speak of coming out of Egypt throughout our blessings on Shabbat.
This memory, this call resounds, through our cycles of time,
reminding us that this is an ongoing task and process.

*The right side of our body was linked to chesed, loving-kindness.

Also rising now comes t'leh, the ram,
sky-sign of this moon.

Creature who stands high upon the peaks,
over-looking the land.


Present at times of vulnerability and change,
he rises to shield us,
just as in Torah his skin  
protected the Mishcan.*


Brave and noble,
the ram lends us
vision and courage,
to undertake the tasks of this moon.

To step nimbly forward,
to reach for life.


Notes:
* The Ram appears in the first month of our year, in Nisan, as the astrological sign.
* He next
appears in Elul, when his horn, the shofar, is blown to call us to Awake,
to cleanse and ready ourselves for our approaching new year, Genesis 22: 13.

* Again the ram appears in the seventh month, in Tishrei, on Rosh HaShannah morning
when we sound the shofar (Ram's horn) and in our Torah reading, in the Akedah, the near sacrifice of Isaac,
the ram offers his life in lieu of Isaac's.
Yom Kippur ends with the long call of the Shofar.

The ram appears
at powerful spiritual turning points.

* In Exodus 25: 5, Terumah, we see in the listing of materials used to build the Tent of Meeting, ram's skin.
*Ram's skins covering the Mishcan: Terumah Exodus 26: 14


We are now instructed of the power of

Dibur, speech,
the sense of this moon.*
For speech is the privilege
of one who is free.

This is the moon of sacred Telling,*
where we give voice.

Speaking of the pain of slavery,
of our peoples cries having been heard,
of openings having been made.

Telling
of the blood shed in their lives
put upon their doorposts,
of the slayings of the night as their homes were passed over
by the angel of death.
Telling of their terror and hope and flight,
to re-claim the gift,
of Freedom.

We tell of their fear,
of their reach for dry land,
gaining safety.

We then imagine and speak of a time 
when freedom will flow throughout the world.
We image a world transformed,
at peace, shining
afresh.

With speech
did Judah rise.

With speech
did God call the world into being,
saying,
"Let there be Light."

We are taught
like the one from whom we draw our names, *
like the one Who Shaped us,
to similarly use our speech 
to bring
light.

Through the breath of Spirit,
the world
came into being.

With our breath
we are called
to strive to also bring worlds of beauty
into life.
 

Notes:
*Dibur, speech is the sense of this moon, Sefer Yetzirah
*Moon of sacred telling: In this month of Nisan the Holy day of Passover arrives.
Marked with a Seder: a time of ritualized telling through moving through a book, called the Hagadah,
the name derived from the word ' telling.'
In 15 steps we enact ritual. Part of which is telling, the magid, the story of slavery in Egypt moving through
the flight to freedom. Concluding with hopes for ultimate Freedom.

*Pesach's name has been broken down into "peh," "mouth", "sach" "speaks."
*Through Judah's name comes our name as Jew.

Now the Hebrew letter of this moon,
Hey, rises,
which appears twice in God's intimate name.*

Her shape
proffering a space,
of protection and comfort,
with an opening,

for light,
for air,

for the sweet fragrances of spring to waft through.

She teaches us,
to always leave an opening,*
in mind, in heart.

Notes:
*God's intimate name: YHVH: In Hebrew spelled: Yud, Hey, Vav, Hey
*Leave An opening (Tomer Devorah 1:7)

Her sound also instructs,
for modest is she.

Sometimes sounding like the wind,*
other times standing in silence.
 
She reminds us
to use speech gently but clearly.

To discern,
when it is best
to be silent.

Notes:
*The Hebrew letter 'Hey' has two different rules of pronunciation.
In some words at the end of a word it is silent.
Other places it is pronounced with a soft "h" sound.

Hey's numerical value, and order in the Aleph-Bet,
five, also instructs.

For with five were we were shaped,
five fingers, five toes,

five senses, *
five levels of soul.
*

And with five are we watered,
the chamsah
, Hand of Miriam,
five Books of Torah, given in five voices,*
light appearing five times
on the first day of Creation.
*

She teaches
we are not helpless,
we are not without resources,
indeed, we've all forms of aid.

Notes:
* Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Smelling, Tasting.
*Five levels of soul-Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Chayah, Yechidah ,Bereishit Rabbah 14:9;
Devarim Rabbah 2: 37
; Zohar 1:81a
* Torah given in five voices-Exodus 19:16-19 the word "voice" is mentioned five times.
* Light appears five times the first day of Creation-Genesis 1:3-5

Lastly Uriel, angel of this moon,
steps forward,
saying,
 

"With the power of the eagle,
with the strength of the lion,
I too am by your side.*

Each night as you sleep, I walk before you,*
shedding light through the shadows.

I will travel with you through this moon.
As you do the work now demanded.
As you walk these ways.

Do not fear.
I will light your way."


Notes:
* Sefer Yetzirah translated by Aryeh Kaplan
* Associated with the eagle and lion: Encyclopedia Judaica
* Siddur HaShalem-Night prayer-pg.784-my adaptation under Prayers

Weavings

So as we yet again strive to leave
the places in our lives that are too narrow,
walking vulnerably into
the unknown,

we are garbed
with the vision and strength of the ram,
while round our necks, a chamsah lies.

Judah and his lion travel by our side,
while eagles fly overhead,
our path illuminated,
by Uriel.

Together we move
towards Freedom.

Remembering
that
miracles,
can and do
happen. *

 Notes:
* Nisan, in whose name the word, "miracle" is embedded.

Words with Hey, musings

Haya: Becoming                        Hadar: To honor                  Halach: To walk
Hillel: To Praise                         Harag: Destroy, kill             Hafan: To turn

There are times when all we've sought to create in life is destroyed.
When life just seems to call us to another door.
Where just to exist takes all we have. 
Where we need just mourn and mother ourselves,
honoring where it is we are, and then,
slowly, turning
and steping into who we are becoming.

And one morning, we're wooed awake,
and rise with praise upon our lips,
ready to face the sweet light of the pristine new dawn.

*Hevel: Vanity, emptiness, steam, vapor          *Haggada: Telling, root: to tell
*Haganah: Defense                                         *Hidur: Adornment, embellishment
*Hadar: Splendor                                            Halacha: Law, rule
*Hallel                                                              Hesped: Eulogy
*Hakafah: Circling, ringing                               *Hirhur: Thought, meditation, reflect

We follow that urge that rises now, to cleanse,
sweeping out the emptiness that clutters our lives,
ridding ourselves of defenses that limit our spirit.

The waves of blossomings circle us as Spirit's Splendor adorns our world.
Each day nature sings the Hallel, as she unfolds herself in sun and spring rains.

We, slower to awaken, now reflect.
How will we join this dance?  how will we emerge as who it is we are?
By what rules do we truly wish to live? how would our lives now be eulogized?
what tale do we wish to tell of our emergence,
into spirit, into life?

We take up our walking sticks,
following the One Who desires our freedom,

called to walk into our unknowns
with fresh aliveness.

Havdallah: Ritual of Separation ending Shabbat
Har:
Mountain                          Hechehel: Palace                    Hadassah: Myrtle

And as we walk through the wild places,
wisdoms rise.

Knowing the importance of marking, distinguishing the flow of time in our days,
creating passages between sacred and the mundane.


Taking time to travel
to the mountain tops, where earth meets heaven,
spaces of power, places of Spirit.

Remembering the delicate leaves of myrtle, shaped like eyes,
which remind us to look deeply and savor while in this brief kiss of life.

Knowing all these lead
to the Palace, place of hidden mysteries,
which shines there
filled with
deep sustenance,
awaiting us.