Sukkot + Study Group Sat Oct 3rd

An invitation from Devorah:

We will be gathering in the Sukkah (weather permitting) next Shabbat morning for our monthly PV study group.
We still dwell in this holy time of year, in the power of continuinuous celebrations: Sukkot's power is the season of our joy. It feels intuitively appropriate to re-member our harvest tradition, placing ourselves literally out in the field, a hut in the midst of nature, while reaping the fruits of our labors and our inward Rosh Hashanah searching. We are not ready to look at life in the hum drum way...having dressed it in the beauty of sweet forgiveness and hope. 

Let's dwell there a bit longer...in the sukah. Sukkot has been ushered in, for the second year, with a super blood moon Eclipse, covering the moon like a Challah cover on Shabbat. 

Sukkot is an extra special time for Passover Village consciousness. It's akin to our frequent focus on uncovering our indigenous roots. We need not dig much, it's right there.....

Our kavanah (intentional spiritual focus of study) this year is viewing nature through the lens of the psalms. We add to it the joyous Sukkot lens. Surprising gifts await us!

Join us, bringing the rich insights of your minds, hearts and life experiences. 

Bring also a pot luck contribution to feast upon after study.  What fun!

  9:30 - 10:00 a.m: Decorate sukkah 
10:00 - 12 noon: personal check-in, Study Psalms, lulav/ etrog
12:30 to at least 1:30: Feast!

16063 Chase Street. North Hills 91343.  (Parallel to Roscoe off 405; east of Woodley)

Look for the abundant bouganvillea at the white gate. Plenty of parking. Walk up the long shaded driveway, come to the back yard or side door.

RSVP to Devorah  <miriaam@mindspring.com>  626-422-8303


PV Shabbat T’shuvah Hike

Dear Passover Villagers

We are now in that liminal space, the gates wide-open, the veil never more narrow than in these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The question hangs in the air: “Who are you really, wanderer"? We explore our relations, with our Self, with our communities, families, and friends, with the Holy One, with Mother Earth. Are we in right relation with each? If not, how to make the correction needed to get unstuck, so we continue our spiral into our truest being? 

Come explore these and other questions as PV does its annual Shabbat T'shuvah hike this Saturday (tomorrow! Sorry for the late notice) 

What: PV Shabbat T’shuvah hike
Where: Temescal Canyon park, Sunset Blvd and Temescal Canyon Rd.  Meet in the shaded grassy area at the end of the parking lot near the restrooms.  There’s a fee to park in lot (BEWARE OF STOP SIGN CAMERAS), or free parking on Sunset Blvd. or Temescal Rd.
When: 9 AM - 12 noon
What to bring: Water, sunscreen, hat, shofar if you have one, open heart
Who:  You!

L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu

Marc W.


Passover Village Study Group September 12, 2015 (day before Erev Rosh Hashanah)

We passed the Rainstick during our Check-In which carried a theme of the fragility of life and deep spiritual experiences/learning.  As the last folks left, it began to rain, while the sky was still blue to the north.  

Continuing our study of the Elements (including plants) in the PSALMS:

Psalm 50 by Asaph

We looked at R. Zalman Schechter-Shlomi’s prayerful interpretation (Larry introduced) as well as other texts. We mostly concentrated on the middle of the psalm with its references to nature (Lines 7-15); then the ending (22-23), backing up to 16-22 finally,  we ended with the first line.  (I like that, ending at the beginning, the snake eating its tail.)  What we wished for today was a skilled Hebrew reader who could help us understand some of the variations in interpretive choices and meanings. It would be nice to revisit. Nonetheless it was and is a rich, broad and deep journey into this Psalm written by Asaph.

So much of the psalm speaks to the questionable necessity of Animal Sacrifice (5, 8, 14) resulting in a deeper look at Sacrifice in general- Line 23 he so offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving honoring; and to him that ordereth… Honors me15, 23

We did discover its possible significance for the indigenous Hebrew Mind*:

Reasons for Ritual Sacrifice:

>Humbleness by reducing riches. Hedge against Hubris

-Humbleness also by giving up pride and value of what one has worked hard for whatever one’s economic status: (sacrificial animals were usually of the Best Quality One Had

             -But a possible hubris of being able to Give more than Others if you have more (to gain further status)

>a form of buying salvation whatever one’s holdings.

>Nourishing G-d w food  (as implied in this psalm)

>Appease an Angry /Punishing God in a world out of one’s control -not understood, insurance policy against future harm from an uncontrollable consequences of Nature/Natural disasters or other hardship, war/conflict, starvation, economic loss. It’s a form of ritualized control against the unknown based on need formed from prior experience of loss.

>or an exchange/trade – I give you this, You give me that (just fair business)

>Is it a form of Giving Up self/ego?

>Does the ritual put us in right relationship with nature?

(discussion: Today, We are out of control – there is no order or respect for nature: Look what ‘we’ (the world) have become without it – how we have destroyed and are destroying our planet – from mountain, land and sea, animals, plants, the air ; pollution and loss

the act of controlling and using nature for our own benefit: logging, over farming & fishing, exhausting the earth nutrients, coral reefs, Monsanto seeds/genetics, chemical spraying, killing to extinction, industrial destruction of the air/greenhouse effect/melting glaciers/icebergs, weather cycles, ad infinitum….

Change in Methods of Sacrifice:

Getting away from Human Sacrifice – Abraham and Isaac (Rosh Hashanah)

Getting away from Animal Sacrifice – after the destruction of the Temple

What level of Sacrifice do we have now (fasting, tithing, have we succeeded, is it effective?)

Have large portions of humanity forgotten purposeful Sacrifice?... thereby sacrificing & suffering inadvertently and at great loss.

Sacrifice in Ritual Form:

Controlled ritualistic predictable sacrifices, and mindfulness of what we have with gratitude.

Ritual enabled us to at least believe that we could control the severity (degree and amount) of the loss (by spiritual decree) by preempting with Temple sacrifices.  Perhaps this served to control our impulses, be grateful and stay moderate in our greed. Do we now hedge our bets by producing too much? Sacrifices – are we less humble and respectful now?  (increased hubris)

*Sacrificing consciously vs unconsciously…..Perhaps we have underestimated the role that Ritual Sacrifice played/plays in the Indigenous Hebrew Mind. How can we more deeply understand and own this indigenous perspective to our own resurrection as consciously indigenous seeking Jews today?  We were unexpectedly struck by the feeling that we may have lost something when we gave up Ritual Sacrifice!  Sacrifice may have given us a right relationship to our egos, our planet and material goods/riches. A rich man had many cattle, sheep, etc.  What the rich ‘man’ does today is pay “taxes” but in the game of trying to retain rather than of giving willingly in relationship to the Divine.

             What does Sacrifice have to teach us now? Are there forms of sacrifice living well in Judaism today (fasting, Tzedukah, etc)  Is it enough, or maybe what we do now is just not powerful enough?  How to integrate these realities as modern Hebrew indiginists?  At the very least line 23, the ending, suggests spiritual self improvement through a Ritual Sacrifice of thankfulness/gratitude (thank offering)

Overview of Psalm points:

‘Thousand mountain’(Hebrew interp? Also it sounds so Chinese) and the pasture (another nourishing image where animals graze) interpretations of Creatures of the Field: The plants themselves? Wild Beasts? Creeping creatures–(small) animals/insects (more Hebrew please).

Asaph’s psalm reports HaShem comparing the human need for edible animals: i.e.fowl & fatlings vs the free wild animals that are “Mine”(10).

Giving a “Thank Offering” 14, 23(what are the types of sacrifices? maybe in Leviticus?). The G-d voice in the psalm chides us that there is No need to do animal sacrifices, HaShem does not need to be nourished. (already has an embarrassment of eternal nourishment -why do we bring the Divine down to our own level?) In the psalm specific references to domestic, edible animals (lines 9&13), yet also Hashem claims relationship to all the living Beings, wild and tame, animal and plant (10-11). Instead Of animal sacrifice (14,23) Asaph presents a God that asks only for sacrifice of gratitude. The point is to be thankful, be in gratitude which maintains our umbilical cord to the Divine so we can receive nourishment .  the gratitude nourishes us –not the Divine – but keeps the Divine alive in us allowing us to receive Divine care.  Without that mindfulness there are consequences! 22

             Discussion: Is the existence of G-d dependent on our belief and attendance to the Divine?  Does the Divine disappear when we are not mindful(23)?   Line 22: Are we punished vs are we suffering the consequences of not being mindful in remembering the Divine presence in our lives?  Or is G-d vulnerable to our conscious creation of Him/Her? How can Divine influences assist us if we don’t keep Him/Her near? Are we destroyed/punished when we are not mindful, or setting the stage for our own destruction.  Does God disappear (we are destroying him?) when we do not think of/relate to “Her/Him”

Taking responsibility for maintaining the connection (the umbilical cord) to receive G_d’s blessings and protection. It is still the Divine that provides the experience of salvation. (Zalman 23) Level of control – Divine Being as all powerful, “Making us” experience.

             Surrender of “Self” enables experience of ____________(fill in the blank, i.e. salvation, ecstasy, visions)

             Yet responsible for remembering by attending to Divine qualities, mitzvoth, remembering, contemplation, maintaining awareness of Divine Presence, the connection, being receptive by our awareness/belief/ritual/order (mitvot – seder)  This process contains Reciprocity of receptivity/action as does the Beauty of the Shechinah (discussed below).

16-20 complains of not abusing the connection through “recite my laws” – Extremism and entitlement we see today.   20=”maligning your brother, defaming the son of your mother” points out the importance of the mother in a matrilineal post matriarchal society.  Points out what is going on today .

Experience salvation23/redemption/rescue 15 Hebrew word used? 

Beauty of Zion – the Earth an aspect of the Divine Lines 1-2

Multi vs Uni God   Aspects / qualities of the Divine vs each quality is personified. “Shekinah” as “Mother earth, the Divine Presence.  The other Sefirot with differing qualities, strength, degree of accessibility

Divine Feminine is not just receptive. There is an action in preparing and presenting One’s Beauty and a reciprocity of receiving and giving.   Give experience of one’s beauty to the observer who receives and responds, thus giving (thanks/appreciation) as the Shechinah receives the appreciation.


Jonathan contributes from Isaiah (not  from this psalm) My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways

             Story comparison by Jonathan re making a meal for one’s spouse – ready when he is home vs asking day before what they want in detail.

To be grateful is to remember one’s Divine connection:

Divine part of your body – agnos agnocia (not knowing that one does not know….. as in a CVA, unawareness of a hemiplegic side of body “this arm is not my arm”). Are we aware of Having Lost or forgotten a part of our Spiritual Body?  Laurie suggests this as an exercise for Passover Village.   We can Re-Member (Dan).


How to regain our inner connection. And our communal connection to the Divine. (minyan)


My own sticking point: Christianity has claimed the God of Love and Jews branded with a punishing Divinity, Do this or else!  I prefer not to accept this, Not a punishing G-d. Is it the absence of the Divine (out of mind) that creates a state of “falling apart” dismemberment, feels like punishment.  Sufism says Make G-d a Reality.”  I ask for each of us to inquire within … What is our preferred version/vision of the Divine Being?