...celebration of a unique life.

Tonight, dear and remarkable friends came for a potluck, some risking life and limb driving beneath strong hail, and we celebrated R' Zalman's life with stories.  Many things in common; and...each person's story was unique.  The stories reminded us of his unusual combination of qualities: real wisdom, insight, keen intuition, unexpected modes of expression, originality, playfulness, brilliance---and most of all, deep caring and the application of his formidable wisdom on behalf of others with real love.
There was good food, rain and hail on the skylights, the Kaddish in Hebrew because we were short the ten Jews needed for the traditional Kaddish in Aramaic, communal improvisation for the tasty meal, and stories and blessings.

I was happy to have the clean-up time quiet and alone, to digest the nourishment of the evening.
The love that Zalman planted in his rich lifetime continues to bear fruit.

Blessings, blessings.
Good night.

Almost bedtime


Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 31 minutes ago

It is the eve of Zalman's yahrzeit, and I did something I have never done before.
Where I usually place the shabbos candles, I made a sort of altar:  a colorful woven cloth on which I placed the yahrzeit candle, a rock-crystal lamp, photos of Zalman...

Three others who loved Zalman truly, worked with him closely, and feel like household members to me,  joined me.   
First, I searched for the version of Kaddish in Hebrew which we can say even if there are fewer than a minyan---because for a prayer in Hebrew, you may not need a minyan; the angels understand Hebrew (but not the Aramaic of the Kaddish) and will deliver the message:  in honor of this person's life, you are praising the Creator.  This implies that they must have done something right.
Then we sat down and told our own Zalman stories.  
I learned about the stashes of chocolate that Zalman kept in his desk at Naropa, and shared with visitors.  (I already knew about the stashes in his desk downstairs.)  
They heard about the Magical Mystery drawer upstairs.  (The tiny wooden cylinder labeled ל ס ד  has mysteriously disappeared.)  
I heard tales of his impeccable intuition on behalf of others.  
Three of us stayed and ate dinner together, to the music of rain on the skylights and more stories.

My heart feels full, and blessed, and happy.
I imagine that my trickster-rabbi-beloved-husband would be genuinely delighted that I did, commemorating his life on the anniversary of his death, that which truly nourished my heart and honored the deep joy he brought into my life.

I invite you to do the same.

Such a beautiful shabbos

Elusive, changing weather.
Sun and the promise of heat.
Then rain in the afternoon, and the wonderful scent in the air.
Then dry and clear.
A truly restful shabbat.

Then, near evening, I went to a dinner gathering of all of us who participated in last year's fundraiser performance of "Jewish Broadway", to share the video of the performance.
What an impressive collection of talent, and what a delight.

Tomorrow night begins the yohrzeit of my beloved.  It will be four years.
It feels like no time and it feels like forever.
Some whose lives he touched deeply have asked me how to commemorate the yohrzeit.
First, to remember how he has affected our lives.  How would your life have been different had you never met, in person or through his books or students?  And if there is advice you had received from him that you still have not followed, you might examine your current circumstance and see if it is perhaps now time...
Second, to give tzedakah in his memory---either money to a well-selected cause, one that puts good into the world; or doing some other act of generosity toward a general or specific good.
Third---you might add your presence to a minyan so that others may be able to say Kaddish for their own loved ones.
If you are local, you might want to spend a few minutes at his grave in the Green Mountain Cemetery--
a very beautiful spot.

Dream deep.

Tuesday: twice good

This was a day of errands---beginning with a scheduled appointment at the dermatologist's office.
It had been a long time since I was last checked, and at the Health Fair a month ago, I was told:  come in.  Two things look like they should be checked out.
So I now have a bandage on the bridge of my nose, just below where the glasses rest, where a  mole was scraped for biopsy; and another on my right thigh, where a dark mole had uneven edges.
The rest of the day took me on a round of errands.
But in the midst of that, I ran into a very interesting young woman visiting Boulder from New Zealand, and we talked outside of Brewer's Market for what must have been at least ninety minutes.  I'm glad to have visited that serendipitous territory, where I lived for most of my life:  I never knew how my intended schedule was going to be revised by Life and the unexpected encounters with friends, strangers, animals.

My evening was gobbled up by the plethora of emails begging for signatures, letters, calls and money.  My budget for donations has been tapped to he max; so I pay instead with the time I had hoped to spend elsewise, writing letters, making calls.  
I am thinking of the children ripped from refugee parents' arms who are being held in (for-profit) jails
---children, without parents or English. In jails.
Incomprehensible.  Inhuman.
How is it that we haven't taken to the streets in a wave of almost-violent protest, complete with full international media coverage?  Have we been bludgeoned by scandal after scandal into stupor?  Do we find it so incomprehensible that we don't really believe it?  How can we allow this degree of trauma to be inflicted on innocents, here in this country of plenty?  Why am I not even seeing more about this on line?  Does anybody know of a group of people who are dealing with this with any effect at all?  

Good thing that I spend some time in intense davvenen before sleep; otherwise, how could I sleep?
Good night. 


Go on youtube for LeanoardCohen's  "Lights in the Land of Plenty"