Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
Carrying Light into Dark Times, p. 4

Alumni and parents!
Be available to share
of your life experience
with the graduates!
Make your insight accessible to them
but do not force it.
With open hearts and ears
be present to them
as they wrestle in their souls with
What is worth and what is pressing
What is indulging and what is worthy of exertion
What makes for complacency
and what makes for heroic virtue
What is expedient and what is valuable
What is trivial and what is significant.

Your heart-full witness
will make you good and appreciated mentors
and neither you
nor your young friends
will feel lonely and abandoned.

Honored colleagues!
You installed mind operating systems
in your students.
You did well --
I go by what Barya
has enthusiastically reported of you,
his teachers.

I plead with you to be available
and answer the help lines
to upgrade these systems
when the students write, call or visit.
You are alive in them.
When you remember them,
offer a little prayer on their behalf
and send blessings their way.

keep in contact with the teachers
who led you
to light, truth and discernment,
whose values you have installed
in your own ideals.

Call or send them a note
when something you become aware
that you appreciate
that in your life
which connects you
to your Oberlin Experience.
Let them hear from you.

I am a teacher --
I know how much this means
when someone from my past
appears and shows gratitude.
I pray every day
and I urge you
to spend some time
and to consult
your values and ideals.

This is one of the best daily meditations.
Sit and allow action directives
to come down from the Greater intelligence
and bring them into your lives.
To maintain your own inner health,
you need to become
stewards of your own time.

While you have to work and earn a living
and need to interact with the engine
that drives commodity time
don't take up your residence
in that pressure tank.

Your home and soul time is organic,
regulated by heartbeat,
breath, sun, moon,
the seasons and the tides.
I quote from the Prophet Isaiah 58:13 :
Leave your busy habits behind
Don't do your business on My holy day
But evoke for yourself the delight of the Shabbat
And hold precious what is sacred and divine
How do you honor it?
Not running your errands
Not making deals
- Yes then you will be in God bliss
and as you sit on top of the world
I will feed you
Jacob's endless bounty
This is God's promise.

Remember the Sabbath - time out
and keep it sacred
to pamper your souls on it,
to cherish love and friendship,
to access the Original Blessings
of a caring creation.
Take a quiet walk
in what is left
of unspoiled nature,
It will re-calibrate
your reality expectations
and open your heart.

As our Native American elders
have taught us
to remember our connection
with all our relations,
the two and four-leggeds,
the flyers, the swimmers,
the trees and the water.

I do not ask you
to spend your spiritual practice time
in passive contemplation.
But to be receptive
to what you can download
from the web of life.
God is accessible on the inner-net
-- keep logging on.
-- And keep the hope that it will be better
-- when you work for it.

Psalm 67
(A psalm for all the peoples of the planet)
God, bless us with grace!
Let Your loving Face shine on us!
We want to get to know Your way
here on Earth,
Seeing how Your help is given
to every group of people.
Oh, how the various peoples will thank You,
All of them will sing and be grateful.
Many people will be joyous and sing
When You will set them right with forthrightness.
And the peoples, as You direct them, will cheer You.
Oh how the various peoples will thank You
All of them will sing, be grateful.
The Earth will give her harvest.
Such blessings come from God, Yes from our God!
Bless us God,
All the ends of the Earth will esteem You!

May the blessings of God rest upon you.
May God's peace abide with you.
May God's presence illuminate your heart
Now and forever more.

[1]       [2]       [3]       4
Image: Koronos

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi recently held the World Wisdom Chair at Naropa University, and is one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal movement. He is the author of dozens of books on Jewish spiritual and ethical life, most recently Wrapped in a Holy Flame: Teachings and Tales of the Hasidic Masters.

An earlier version of this essay appeared in New Menorah magazine.

Related articles:

The Gifts of the German Jews Michael Shurkin
Toward a postmodern Judaism
August, 2003

When I Met Humility, I Saw Letters Abraham Mezrich
June, 2003

I hear America Bling-blinging Jay Michaelson
Hypercapitalism as Satanism
June, 2003

Constriction Jay Michaelson
Dick Cheney and the New Age
March, 2003

What the World is... Jay Michaelson
...and what to do about it
February, 2003

What's your point? Samuel Hayim Brody
A WEF Protester Tells You Why He Bothers
March, 2002

October 2003

Carrying Light into Dark Times
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

With a Bible and a Gun:
The Prohetic Justice of Johnny Cash
Samuel Hayim Brody

Season of Revision
Jay Michaelson

Primal Scream Judaism
Temima Fruchter

More than This
Dan Friedman

Josh's Dinner
Josh Ring

Our 390 Back Pages

David Stromberg

Zeek in Print
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From previous issues:

The Mall Balloon-Man Moment of the Spirit
Dan Friedman

Abraham Mezrich

Some things have changed, some have stayed the same
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Alienated politics in an age of ignorance

Manufacturing Dissent
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For the Left's voice to be heard, it needs to play by the rules

Go as Far as Possible
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Life beyond the idea of limits