11/29/15 at B’nai Zion Congregation in Shreveport, LA
Gratefulness is the foundation of our spiritual practice. Our liturgy teaches us that the very first words uttered each morning are to be words of thanksgiving. Our morning prayer of gratefulness is designed to open our hearts and energize us to step onto the path of Holiness. Yet so often we get caught in the habits of complaint. We lose sight of the miracle of each moment. Our enthusiasm, inspiration, receptivity and generosity are eclipsed by the stresses of Life. When we fall prey to the cynicism and jadedness of the dominant culture, we lose the opened-eyed innocence and radical amazement that is necessary for the Life of Gratefulness. In this workshop we explore this quality in our lives and learn practices that cultivate, nurture and refine our ability to feel and express gratefulness. We use the practices of chant and holy conversation to uncover the obstacles to gratefulness and learn how to deal with our particular challenge(s).
Start Time for the workshop: 5:30 minutes in. The whole workshop lasts about an hour and a half.
Alternatively, to watch at YouTube.com where it starts to play at 5:30 minutes in, click https://youtu.be/n4Y25X4gUnI?t=5m30s.
“Increasing the flow of loving-kindness within us”
Rabbi Shefa talks about the story in Exodus where God asks the people to offer gifts from the heart and to create a Mikdash (a sanctuary, a holy place) for God to dwell in their midst. The people responded so enthusiastically that they had to be told to stop giving. Their desire was great and they responded with overwhelming generosity. For more teachings about Generosity from the Mussar Institute, see Generosity Week 2015.
Video from The Wandering Jew
In 2010, the Wandering Jew came to the Albuquerque Sacred Hebrew Chant Group: The EnChanted Circle held at Nahalat Shalom. You can read the blog posting from this visit and watch the interview with Rabbi Shefa and the chant group led by Rabbi Shefa.