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Chalomot Shamayim: Dreaming of Heaven

09/01/2021 07:12:29 AM



Adath Shalom is Chosen as a Shamayim Vegan Challenge Synagogue

By Rabbi Rudin

A Year of Health and Healing: Adath Shalom’s Spiritual Vision and Mission for 5782

At our Selichot service last Saturday night, we honored our healers by asking them to stand and lead us in the Oath of the Rambam: to dedicate ourselves to compassion, healing, learning and the relief of suffering.  In effect, we each took on that sacred oath of the Great Eagle, Moses Maimonides, and each of us joined our healers in becoming ourselves healers.  

Let that be our mission this year as a holy community: to vanquish not only this dread pandemic once and for all, but to build a world where compassion and support are the rule and not the exception: a Jewish community that becomes itself a light of healing, love, inclusion, gentleness and caring.

Even as the spiritual high of that night still lingers, we received joyful news; here’s the background:

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, a Torah genius and  Israel’s first Chief Rabbi, saw humanity as on a spiritual journey.  Motivated by love and deep empathy for all people, he conceived of the different religions and nations as beautiful musical instruments of a great orchestra; able to create supernal uplifting music if they would only stop trying to drown each other out.

Part of Rav Kook’s vision was to testify to humanity’s unsteady, halting but persistent evolution to greater compassion and consciousness -- a return to the pristine power and spiritual pinnacle of the Garden of Eden, where humanity was charged with the care and nurture of all life, rather than exploiting and despoiling the world.  Embodying this holy task was a return to the original vegan/vegetarian diet of humanity, a lifestyle that more and more people are embracing today as one that is not only more sustainable environmentally and in terms of resources, but also in tune with the Torah’s ideals of compassion:

     The lion shall lie down with the lamb, the leopard with the ox, the bear and the calf will graze peacefully together; and a little             child will lead them.  Nations shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; and everyone will         dwell beneath their vine and fig tree and none shall make them afraid….

     -From Prophet Isaiah, 7th Century BCE

In the spirit of this seminal twentieth-century Jewish thinker’s lofty hope, the Shamayim (Heaven) Organization invites Jewish communities to dream of a world where balance has been restored and to educate toward environmental and ethical awareness.   Our synagogue has been chosen from the many who applied for a grant to dare to work toward the Rav’s vision.

Working with our Lifelong Learning Committee as well as Adath Shalom member and fitness and lifestyle coach Aaron Guttman, we will be sharing a program of learning, tikkun olam action, enjoying delicious food, -- and having a great time doing it, while improving our physical health, mental acuity, emotional balance and uplifting our spirits. 

Looking forward to a year of sharing, of health and healing, of dreams and laughter and learning, of shared adventure and attainment --  Beit Ya’acov, House of Jacob, let us walk b’Or Adonai- in the Light of G-d!

With shalom and with love

Rabbi Rudin

Thu, June 20 2024 14 Sivan 5784