Rav Mike Feuer is a teacher at the Pardes Institute for Jewish studies. He teaches “Striving for the Divine”, “Rav Kook”, and “Jewish History”. He has learned Torah in a number of Jerusalem area institutions, including Yeshivat HaMivtar, the Mir Yeshiva and Sulam Yaakov, where he studied for smikha (rabbinic ordination) and served as Educational Director. Rav Mike’s teaching is a mix of rigorous analysis and a passionate love of the poetry found in Torah.
What happens when a 3,000 year old tradition that is filled with deep ideas about sacred space and time, the capacity to achieve liberation from bondage, and also has a lot of talk about camels and goats collides with contemporary values such as feminism, creating inclusive spiritual community for Jews of all hues and non-Jews as well, and the importance for honest talk about theology or the lack thereof?
You get @Modern_Ritual.
This is an important point to consider within religious movements as they advocate for their adherents to be more humble with their voice, yet many of those being addressed do not a have voice in the communal conversations to begin with - do not have a seat at the table when decisions are being made around who counts and who doesn’t, who is ordained and who is not.
One of the successes that Rabbi Plumb touched on was how it allowed for people to bring their whole selves into the community. One of the middot (attributes) that the congregation adopted was the idea of b’tzelem elohim that each and every human being is divine and that every part of their lives is filled with holiness (holy sparks, some might say) - no part of which they should feel ashamed or judged for.
There have been some days where my faith has been so shaken that I couldn’t leave my house till I figured out whether or not I would continue being spiritual/religious. There have been days where I’ve been so discouraged by my lack of emotional vulnerability in my prayers that I’ve thought why bother doing this if it isn’t even a space where I can discover my soul.
But with all of these challenges I am so thankful that I have never quit. I have always maintained the belief that even though today is hard, who knows…
I have always believed that within every challenge lies an opportunity, within every question lies a journey, and within every person - an inextinguishable light. Our job is to make our light shine brighter within ourselves, and to see the spark of holiness in others - even when it is difficult to do so.
I live in the United States and as far as I can tell we value tackling problems head on and solving them once and for all. Once we set our minds to something we expect to see results and to see them right away.
This demand for quick a turnaround shows up in all areas of our lives. From relationships, to the ways we give charity, and perhaps most obviously in the ways we diet. There has to be a “before” and “after” picture and there has to be one immediately. If results aren’t seen after a few short weeks … “why did I even bother with this to begin with” we ask ourselves while looking for the next quick solution.
But then what about things like prayer or meditation - things that don’t yield immediate or visible results? Should I just throw out my prayer shawl along with my old iPhone because it too didn’t get me to my desired goal fast enough? That’s definitely a thought that has crossed my mind many times.