Kabbalah and Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah 5775

Livnot Bnot Sherut Nina Medved gives her thoughts on the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah 5775

Dear Chevre!!!

I miss you all dearly and hope life is continuing to provide awesome adventures and that your journeys are leading you to wonderful places.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of listening and making space, or should I say- giving space, since it’s already there- just waiting to be discovered. In our fast paced lives it’s hard to find time for the things we care about, but even harder than that is finding space in our lives and within ourselves- for others, for spirituality, for the things that really matter.
IMG_4438An ancient Kabbalistic teaching explains that before the beginning of time, there was just an endless, all-encompassing unity. However, in order for a world to be created, there was a need for this infinity to pull back, almost contract into itself, in order to give space for something seemingly new and independent to be created, something that could have a relationship with the divine and not just be swallowed by it. This wonder is called the “Tzimtzum”. It’s a wonder because the infinite became no less infinite, but simply cloaked itself in a way that allowed for a world, human beings and even free will to exist.
When looking at the Shofar we blow on Rosh Hashana, the same Shofar that represents freedom and that many believe will be blown “when the good times come” and the world realizes its potential, it too is based on that same concept. A Shofar is made by taking the horn of a ram and making it hollow. Only when there is space to breathe through can there be sound. Contrary to what society often tells us, it seems that “less is more”. Just as the divine contracted itself in order to give space to a world, just as the shofar is contracted in order to give space to a powerful sound, so can we in our own lives.
I feel like this time of year comes to remind us to give space for reflection, for our true selves, for other people’s needs and ideas, for the divine. There is endless good that already exists within the world and inside of us, and sometimes the best way to ‘create’ is just to give things the space to surface and be.
So, along with the usual resolution lists and actions, I want to invite us to try and take a step back, do our own personal Tzimtzum, and see what appears.
Chag Sameach and Shana Tova! 🙂
Nina Medved
Bat Sherut
Nick Henderson
[email protected]

Before making Aliyah from Scotland, Nick ran an international NGO called Youth End Poverty and worked with a number of non-profits and social change organisations, including the British Council, Oxfam and Save the Children. Nick was previously Social Media Manager / Alumni Relations Manager at Livnot. Now he lives in Jerusalem and is passionate about public health issues, and represents Israel at various international conferences on health policy.