Vayigash and Gaetanos

Samain and the waxing Winter Solstice Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Shabbat. The Morning Service. Rabbi Jamie and his grief. The Minyan. The Snow. The cold. Rigel and Kep try to understand the kitchen remodel. Jon. His long nap. Gabe. Ruth. Sarah and Annie. BJ. Tom. The Ancient Brothers and the gift. Herme. The kitchen. Lower Gas bill.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: A teachable moment. Maybe.

Tarot: Seven of Bows, clearance.  wildwood


No chicken pot pies. Yep. Not at Conifer Safeway or the Evergreen Safeway. My favorite. Marie Callender. Confirmed this on the way home from CBE after the Shabbat morning service. Laying in a supply of frozen entrees as the kitchen remodel goes into a caesura while more cabinets get made and the quartzite fabricated.

Jews read, then reread, then reread, then reread the Torah, the first five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. After Sukkot in the fall comes Simchat Torah, joy of the Torah. The reading of the five books ends, then picks up again at Bereshit, Genesis.

This is a qualitative difference between Judaism and Christianity. Christians parse up the “old testament” and the New. Often three short readings readings on a Sunday morning. The result, and I did it for years, is a disjointed sense of the scriptural narrative. The power lies in the hands of the liturgical calendar makers.


Even in progressive synagogues like Beth Evergreen a new parsha is read every Sabbath, in a regular sequence. Parsha’s are long. For example, the December tenth parsha was Genesis 47:28–50:26. Vayigash. The result of this reading and reading is to create a shared story, a shared mythology, a tradition that joins all Jews. Cain and Abel, Babel, the Reed Sea, Pharaoh, the Golden Calf, Mt. Sinai, the 631 mitzvot, Moses watching from Mt. Pisgah as others enter the promised land. Each character from Abraham to Aaron has a lesson or lessons to teach, not as dogma but as human choices made in contexts that we still find in our contemporary humanness.

The morning service which I attended yesterday had some wonderful and memorable moments. After six years I still have almost no Hebrew so the chanting and singing in Hebrew appeals to me as music mostly. Rabbi Jamie’s haunting chants take me to a deep place whether I read the English translation or not.

At one point a note suggested we think of a person who loves us and imagine ourselves loved by them. I chose Kate. It helped me. Seeing myself through her eyes gave me a sense of breadth to my life, a sense of what loyalty means to a woman betrayed, a sense of my possibilities as real, rather than hoped for.

Jamie talked about Tony Haas, his mother-in-law, her death last Sunday, the work she did in rural education policy. He lived with her and she died with him and the grandkids around her bed. His love and affection for her was clear, as was his sense of loss. Even 9 months later, today actually, that early grief is so present and available to me. I was with him and his family.

After my unsuccessful journey to the frozen food aisle, I drove back home, up the Snowy and Icy road. Going up is so much easier than going down in those conditions.

At 4:20, after feeding the dogs, I took off for Gaetano’s and Jon’s 53rd birthday dinner. Still feeling a little rough, but much better than Thursday night and Friday. Got there about 5:10 after a puzzling traffic delay on i-70 and surprisingly good memory about how to get to the restaurant without navigation aids.

Jon never came. Later he texted an apology. He had gone to sleep around 2 pm and didn’t wake up until 7 in spite of having set the alarm. His medications and illnesses have variable affects on him. This may have been one.

I had a nice meal on my own, testing something I had not realized I needed to. Eating a nice meal without Kate. I enjoyed the food, but the combination of her absence and the cacophony made me not want to repeat that anytime soon.

Same on the way home. I drove back up Brook Forest and Black Mountain. It was cold and there was snow on the ground. Returning from Evergreen at night in the first couple of weeks we were here. Kate and me. I reached over to her seat, held her hand for a while, felt sad.

It was good to get back home to Kep and Rigel, to the new life I’m making here on the mountain.


Seven of Bows

“This is the time to make decisions and select your priorities. Focus on what you really need in life and things that it’s time for you to drop and cut down, especially if it’s old and broken, no longer fulfilling your needs on a life journey.” The Wildwood book

This is my journey right now. Pruning. Reshaping relationships. Leaning into the good ones. Ameliorating the effects of the not so good ones. Remaking the physical space here. Refining my life over all.