December 11, 2017 |

Reflection: Being a Sacred Vessel in Moments of Tension

The human body, according to Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia, is a fragile sacred vessel. His program of Jewish learning, therefore, involved altered modes of breathing and bodily vitality to prevent physical harm to the student of the spirit. For every human being is a bridge between this world and heaven, and every bridge needs support. Especially when the load being carried is great.

Those whose work includes channeling the divine and supporting others are placed frequently in the immediate intersection of Mercy and Judgment, Limitless Compassion and Structural Integrity. When in a difficult position, the person whose profession is a sacred calling can be torn between relinquishing integrity for the sake of Love and maintaining integrity for the sake of Sustainable Love. This doesn't allow the answer to be "yes" every time, and a caring person suffers when the required answer is "no."

It's not really in that moment (nor is it ever truly) about the vessel. Caregivers, humbled by their roles, experience great Sipuk Nefesh/Spiritual Reward - except when when they don't, when their connection to so many searches for meaning renders them a magnet for intense emotionality. And those intense moments define whether the sacred path they navigate has integrity.

Fragile, Sacred, Intense: What a challenge, what a blessing!

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Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Joined: September 20, 2007

A prolific writer, musician, and teacher, Rabbi Menachem Creditor serves as rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, CA. Rabbi Creditor currently serves on the Executive Council of the Rabbinical Assembly, the Board of Trustees of the UC Berkeley Hillel, and on the Rabbinic Advisory...

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