November 2018
Rabbi Lisa Goldstein
Loved, Clear, Courageous
Hanukkah is almost upon us and with it the aptness of all the metaphors of bringing light into the darkness. A less examined theme of the holiday, however, at least in many spiritual circles, is holy boldness - the decisive action that the Macabees took in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds that enabled them to defeat the wicked government that vastly outweighed them.

We tend to shy away from exploring this kind of strong action because it can seem so antithetical to the spiritual endeavor of finding inner peacefulness and because it can too easily veer into bold fanaticism, as the Hasmonians themselves exemplified. And yet, holy boldness, the courage of the spiritual warrior, is an important middah, or trait, even (and maybe especially) for the contemplative repertoire.

Practices in this Letter
Rabbi Jonathan Slater
Rabbi Myriam Klotz
Rabbi Marc Margolius
The God of What Is
 Rabbi Jonathan Slater
I participated in a program before the first cohort of the IJS called “Mindfulness Leaders Training” – a sort of precursor to our own Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training. At the end of the program, the participants were invited to reflect on their experience, and on what they had learned. I was moved by the highly emotional and heart-felt words of a colleague. This was a rabbi whose work was primarily in the realm of social justice and human rights.

Mindful Practice for Gevurah
Rabbi Myriam Klotz
Holy boldness is more than just taking action: it is strength guided by compassion, courage guided by wisdom, steps toward justice guided by love. In this guided practice, Rabbi Myriam Klotz leads us in the cultivation of  gevurah , strength through the  middot  of compassion and wisdom.

Azut D’Kedushah: Practicing Mindful “Holy Boldness”
Rabbi Marc Margolius
While rabbinic Judaism often prescribes a spiritual path characterized by self-effacement, the sage Yehudah ben Teimah in Pirkei Avot 5:20 praises the middah or sacred quality of “holy boldness:”

"Be av kanamer, bold like the leopard, light like the eagle, swift like the deer, and mighty like the lion to do the Will of your Parent Who is in Heaven.” He used to say: az panim, [the] bold-faced [are bound] for Gehinnom (Purgatory), and boshet panim, [the] shamefaced, [are bound] for the Garden of Eden."

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