January 2018
The Whole World is a Narrow Bridge
Courage manifests in different ways.

Jewish tradition and text are full of narratives of courage. Abraham leaves behind a world of idols, taking a stand against the dominant religion of his homeland and family. Yocheved hides her child for three months, and gives him up in hopes of a better life with no guarantee of his safety. Nachshon ben Aminadav walks into the Sea of Reeds, moving without hesitation until the waters almost covered him, until God splits the sea. 

Practices in this Letter
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
The Courage to be Resilient: Guided Meditation
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell

Courage can be experienced in terms of how we orient ourselves towards a major situation or challenge. When we feel afraid, this kind of courage can be difficult to access. Jordan offers a mindfulness teaching and practice that affirm an accessible approach in which courage is to be experienced, from how we are present to what we are experiencing right now. In working with our felt experience right now, we can embody a form of courage that is not about just solving problems. We do this not about fighting or “prevailing” over our challenge, but with the confidence that “we are able.”

Rabbi Jonathan Slater
To What Are We Faithful?
Rabbi Jonathan Slater

The opposite of “courage” is …

We often associate courage with selflessness, with willingness to stand up for the other. That may be, but unless we investigate what this selflessness is, we will attribute it to saints, failing to discover it for ourselves.

Rabbi Marc Margolius
Cultivating Ometz lev: Heart-Strength
Rabbi Marc Margolius

Like all middot , Ometz lev is innate to us as human beings, but must be elicited through spiritual practice. This trait is personified in the character of Shifrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives in the Book of Exodus who defy Pharaoh’s genocidal orders and safely deliver Hebrew babies into the world, at great personal risk. According to the Hasidic master Rabbi Simchah Bunim , Ometz lev is intrinsic to the midwives; they shun evil in the way human beings are hardwired to flee from fire or other dangers. For some of us, like the midwives, the threat of “fire” is obvious and easily avoided. But for most of us, the peril is concealed in our yetzer hara , our ego-focused shadow side. Courage needs to be nurtured through practice.

Rabbi Myriam Klotz
Gevurah : Embodied Practice for Standing Strong
Rabbi Myriam Klotz

Join Rabbi Myriam Klotz in this guided yoga practice for cultivating the middot of strength, focus, and compassion.

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