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Rachel Barenblat
Rachel Barenblat became a rabbi in January of 2011, and has been blogging as The Velveteen Rabbi since 2003.
Interests: Judaism, religion, ecumenism, poetry, motherhood, Christianity, Islam, liturgy, prayer, midrash, fandom.
Recent Activity
A few days ago I mentioned spiritual bypassing in my commentary on a short Hasidic text. A few of you reached out to me after that post went out, asking for more about spiritual bypassing: what it it, how can... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Thank you for this, R' Jeff. Yes -- we are called to be "response-able," in the words of Reb Zalman z"l, and to integrate qualities in healthy balance, both on an individual level and on a communal level.
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Absolutely. That's part of what I think KL is trying to say: what's necessary is the appropriate balance between the qualities, not leaning unilaterally toward any quality, no matter how positive that quality may seem. In my own lived experience, I've encountered the dangers of a context where people privilege chesed and ignore gevurah. I haven't experienced the opposite, but I agree with you that that too would be a negative thing, and I think the KL would agree.
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Earlier this week, David and I studied a fabulous text from the Hasidic rabbi known as the Kedushat Levi (R' Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev), to whom I was first introduced by R' Elliot Ginsburg, my teacher of Hasidut in rabbinical... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
"Not all women, trees, or ovens are identical." -- Mishna Pesachim 3:4, in the name of R' Akiva Some women like winter. Some incubate babies and some have no uterus. Some wear eyeliner. Some are happiest in Israeli sandals flaunting... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Velveteen Rabbi
Dear One, you love me so much you give me your Torah for argument and play waltzing and conversation from one life to the next. Your Torah nourishes me, familiar as the womb. Wrap me tight in your Torah like... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Beloved, You are good and you wield goodness in shaping creation and every single day in Your goodness and with Your goodness You make us new with all created things. You make me new. I cling to yesterday (who would... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
1. The CSA's first distribution week: the flower gardent nascent, not yet formed. The fields are all potential. No one knows what plagues or pleasures yet will come to pass. Who can say which plants will thrive this year? This... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
When I wrap the straps around my arm Shekhinah holds my hand. Her small brown fingers intertwine with mine. She holds on tight. She whispers courage in my ear. Says "don't hold up: be held." Kisses my forehead, a mother... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
All through the long winter, I wait with eager anticipation for the long days of June. I have this in common with my mom, who also loves summertime's long days -- though at her latitude the winter days aren't as... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Although this came out a month ago, it only last night reached my eyes: Judaism Shines Through All They Do: Ginsburg, Sandberg, Barenblat. Written by Haley Codron, this opinion piece ran last month in the Orlando Sentinel, and it puts... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Step one: we attuned ourselves to light. I don't mean the sun, but what came first. (Heavenly bodies were day four.) The fire of the burning bush, the glowing cloud that hovered over the mishkan, the presence of creation's supernal... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
I didn't wind up offering that poem at the retreat, for personal reasons (wasn't feeling well, went to rest), so I removed it from the blog. Sorry about that.
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2017 on Glimpses of Shavuot 5777 at Velveteen Rabbi
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Isabella Freedman, where I just spent Shavuot. Back when I first started blogging, I used to write about every retreat I attended. I was so thirsty for connection with Jewish tradition and with God! I kept a paper journal tucked... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
When I think of my last Shavuot of rabbinical school, all I can remember are glimpses. Like the slide shows that I remember my parents used to project on the dining room wall. Most of my memories of my son's... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
A while back I was solicited to contribute an essay to a volume on modeh / modah ani, the morning prayer of gratitude, edited by David Birnbaum and Martin S. Cohen, to be published by Mesorah Matrix. Longtime readers of... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Earlier this year I was delighted to contribute a d'var Torah to My Jewish Learning for the first Torah portion in the book of Leviticus: Vayikra - What Silence Conceals and Reveals. They've asked me to write a few more... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
I'm glad those words reached you. Thank you for reading, honey.
Toggle Commented May 26, 2017 on My latest for The Wisdom Daily at Velveteen Rabbi
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My latest essay has been published at The Wisdom Daily. It's about divorce, and life changes, and the difference between rebuilding and starting something entirely new. Here's a taste: ...From the matrix of community relationships into which I remain woven,... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
My breasts are full and tender: I ache to give to you. Say yes and I will bathe you in flowing milk and honey. Taste and see that I am good. How I yearn for you to know me! I... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
You think I'm not listening. You can't feel my hand on your shoulderblade, my lips pressed to your forehead my heart, ground down with yours into the dust of the earth. Sweet one, I feel your grief like a black... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2017 at Velveteen Rabbi
Oh, Reb David, thank you so much for this comment. We know that we stand on the shoulders of giants (you're one of them).
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Thank you for following our journey from afar, Dave, and for your appreciation for Jewish Renewal and the Torah we are blessed to be able to share.
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You are most welcome, dear Jan. Thank you for all that you do! I hope to make it to HaMaqom one of these days... the trouble with being a pulpit rabbi is, it's hard to visit my friends' shuls! :-)
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Thank you so much, dear Julie. Don't worry, we're not going anywhere -- we will always be part of ALEPH and Jewish Renewal. Love and appreciation to you too, my dear!
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