Strange day

It has been a mildly overcast Sunday.
I have accomplished things I had not expected to, and not accomplished the ones I had intended.
I've been on the edge of tears most of the day, for no obvious reason.
I am about to go to bed with the feeling of a question mark hovering over my internal review of the day.

I am grateful for this anchoring site, and for your generously accompanying presence over these years.

Wishing us all a loving and creative week.


...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.