January 4 2019

Shabbos Spread

Shabbat is a day of rest, reflection, and renewal.

This weekly spread is offered to help us question: how do we want to shape our sacred time?

Each Friday night, we invite you to light Shabbat candles with us and reflect on the state of the world and our responsibility to it as we read through the Hebrew alphabet and its wisdom. Let this practice support you in welcoming in the Sabbath as we collectively tend to and hold our care, questioning, and actions this week.


This week, what came up or was present for us?

Each new year (and we have five!) is a time for revolution and resolution, intention and focus. Hod translates to splendor and reaffirms for us this opportunity for brilliant distinction. We’re asked to cut down to the core of who we are and who we hope to become. Reflect on the last year and be honest about your desires and your responsibilities, then recommit. Hod amplifies our word – be direct with yourself and sincere with others. Clearly communicate your dreams to the world. Speak it into being using the past tense, as if it is so bound to happen it already has. Then make it so. Do the work and the work will show.


This Sabbath, what nourishment do we need and what deserves our sacred time?

Even as we reflect on this last year of our lives, malkut advises us to zoom out to the stars reflected in our eyes and zoom in to the ground beneath our feet. Spend time outside this Sabbath and let nature be your teacher. Notice the sun glittering on the waves, the wind whistling through the trees, the ice cracking into fractals on the pond’s surface, the moon brightening the sky. Bring these lessons of connection, relation, and presence into your new year. Be gentle with yourself as you do.


Moving towards this world to come, how do we hold our values and bring the ways we want to build into the next week?

Representing the number fifty, nun symbolizes faith. The Kabbalah teaches that while forty-nine gates to wisdom exist, above them all lies the fiftieth gate of faith. As we move into the dreams of our new year, we know we’ll come up against new struggles too. How will we keep faith in these challenging times? When I feel stuck in grief and fear, doubt and disillusionment, I invite friends over for dinner. I read Octavia Butler. I spend time with a child. I organize with my community. I sing.

Nun both opens and closes the word niggun, a wordless melody and a musical prayer. With its ability to speak our heart’s language and rise higher than words, music has always been a door to the sacred. As Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady once said, “There are gates in heaven that cannot be opened except by melody and song.” If you’re in need of a good niggun next week, or anytime this year, you can listen to Big Tent Nigun & Piyut or a Queer Nigun Project playlist (my favorite is Tzemach Tzedek).


Let us know how this reading sits with you and what it’s asking you to bring into your life with the hashtag above. As always, take what you need from the cards and leave what you don’t. We’ll see you next week. Shabbat Shalom!

Maya Sungold is a facilitator, farmer, and fiber artist who works through practices of cultivation and collaboration to support relationships in continued resistance and resilience. In spinning both fiber and web, they build change and creative adaptation, queer time and radical imaginings, tender accountability and perfectly possible contradiction into their art-making and community-building. Their work aims to shape space and structure for connection, reflection, and creation to resource us as we live into the world to come. You can connect with them on Instagram at @soulxstitch.

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