Fall New (Hunter) Moon
My fellow traveler shoes are beginning to get a lot of mileage on them at Congregation Beth Evergreen. The Rabbi there, Jamie Arnold, is a very sweet guy, empathetic, bright, learned, good singing voice. At the Mussar midday session yesterday we looked again at the first chapter of Mesillat Yesharim. There are many important ideas in it, two stand out for me right now.
The first is that delight and pleasure are primary to our lives. Why? Because the contentment and serenity they provide give us a life in which we can focus on what matters. I love the notion of joy as a, or even the, core attribute of our day to day existence.
The second idea is that we can be tempted, pulled away from delight and joy, by both prosperity and adversity. Recalling this simple, but far from obvious truth about the human condition helps us see that our material advantages are not the core focus of our lives. Our material success is incidental to the spiritual journey-unless it distracts us from it.
When the hour long learning session is over, we go into vaad, which is personal sharing. Yesterday’s sharing was so profound. The level of trust and intimacy in this group, a testament to Jamie’s leadership, is deep. When a person finishes, we say shimat, “I have heard you.” (I think that’s right.)