December 14 2018

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?

In this edition of Shabbos Spread, the cards are all about breath. Reish starts the word ruach, with one of its meanings translating to “breath.” This past week, it feels like there’s barely been any time to catch this breath, as we run to finish the work of the day, the week, the year. If we take even a minute to breathe, it can feel like we’re sacrificing something else of more importance in the process.

Instead of focusing on what you may have missed, ask yourself what you may have noticed. Jewish mystics believe that breath is the gate to awareness. What information do we take in as we inhale? What do we learn from the taste of the world on our tongue? What do we offer as we open our mouth to recycle the gift of breath?

Today, let your breath guide you into other valid and valuable ways of making and marking time by slowing down, pausing, and inviting in a different consciousness for Shabbat.


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

If reish offers us breath as awareness, hei brings us breath as revelation. Ending in an extraordinary exhalation, hei lets out everything inside in relief and disbelief. Beginning the word hineini for “Here I am,” hei is a great big shout of, “I am alive and present.”

This Sabbath, reflect on what it is to be alive, rather than what we do with our aliveness. Put a finger on your pulse, look into the shine of another’s eyes, feel the sting of icy air pulled through your nostrils, water your houseplants. Let your own sense of life connect you with others who are or once were alive, and feel held by this legacy of interconnectedness.


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

With these new (or renewed) revelations, what is now possible as we allow breath to enter and expand within us? Filled with air, we float with a lightness to our bones and a brightness to our minds as the Sefirah Hokhmah ignites our imaginative capacity.

Close your eyes and listen to the sound of all things dreaming, praying, reaching. Let your imagination fly. Put time this week into something unknowable yet hopeful, impossible yet necessary. Put a piece of your radical visions into practice. As author Walidah Imarisha reminds us in Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, “Our ancestors dreamed us up and then bent reality to create us.” Follow these imaginative impulses to move closer to a creative and inventive aliveness.


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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