Weavers, Builders and Soul Journeys
By Rabbi Lori Shapiro
Yesterday at Open Temple, Stephanie (our fabulous Managing Director, come in and meet her!) wore a t-shirt parody of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” (above). It made me think about the role of Torah in our lives – both in its pithy parody of the famed Pink Floyd album cover as well as what the cover itself illustrates.
Torah (and the Tanakh in its entirety – the Five Books of Moses, Prophets and Writings), begins with the Book of Genesis for a reason. If we are to go on a journey, we first must understand the path from which we came. The books that follow are similarly considered ancestral stories, histories, and thought pieces of the ancient world. However, there is another element that becomes clear through this week’s Torah portion Vayakhel – it is upon us to untether ourselves with our past as we become builders of our destined future.
As white light refracts into a spectrum, each soul is a walking vessel of light with the potential to convert this light into a visible spectrum of inspiration – through vulnerability, truth-telling and found wisdom. At the time of the building of the Temple, Bezalel and Oholiab, the architects of the Temple, were considered “the wise-hearted into whose hearts I have instilled wisdom, and they shall make everything I have commanded you.” (Exodus 31:6). It is upon all of us, today, to become builders of a modern Temple through radical and real acceptance of who we are, where we came from and where we are going.
In a recent NYTimes op/ed, David Brooks identified a movement without a name and named it. The network of local connectors – creating spaces for social change through modalities ranging from community organizing to creating sacred space for small clusters of people – are the WEAVERS of our nation. Weavers are individuals who create such Temples in our society to connect others. All of us have the potential to weave and connect. The work of creating the Temple in ancient Israel, or 39 Malachot, are ancient instructions about how to build a holy space for connection. We draw from this well of creation, as today we build, thrash, grind, sift, knead, comb and weave our connections into a Temple for our Souls.
At Open Temple, we create a holy space at every service for this personal act of self creation and invite anyone interested in sharing their Soul Journey with us to come forward. A Soul Journey is a unique invitation at our Third Friday Shabbat Take Me Higher services to share one’s vicissitudes and hard-earned wisdom, to illuminate the path for others through colorful and not always glorious truths. In this moment, we are invited to turn our gaze, and ourselves (as the word for turn in Hebrew is “T’shuvah” the act of returning to our true selves), from our past and focus on the creation from all of this wisdom to the Temple of our Future.
I invite you to share your Soul Journey and the Temple of your Soul with Open Temple. I invite you to stand before the gathered community, be seen and heard with vulnerability and truth, and become a Builder of the Temple of the Soul. Each of us has an essential piece of creation. I would love to learn about yours.
With light and love,
If you are interested in sharing your Soul Journey please contact Open Temple at firstname.lastname@example.org.