As the sun rises anew each day, I am rising each dawn from nine months of grieving. These were my first High Holidays in thirty-six years without my husband, Marcel, z'l, with whom I shared a tent.
It was a time to mourn; now it is time to be born, to emerge, a time to dance.
This week, at my weekly Remo Drum Circle--glorious with fine drummers, musicians and dancing goddesses, and for the first time in a decade, I used my immense, hand-painted rainbow sunburst-colored silk scarf that I purchased in a forest during my belly-dancing days. Freely unfolding and springing to life, it extends beyond outstretched arms, creating my wings to fly. Glorious billowing silk of vibrant, joyous, spiraling colors of fire and sherbet whimsically swirled around me as a breeze twirled cloud over a desert tent at dawn's sunrise!
Sukkot is known as the "Season of our Joy". It is time for my tent to be renewed, reclaiming Joy - my self - and for new cycles of life. I have gone to the Mikvah for water: a spiritual purification for my healing and separation. My spirit, mind, heart and body are a new expressive tent of consciousness and awakening.
"Mah tovu ohalecha, Yaakov, mishkenotecha, Yisrael."
How fair are your tents, O Jacob, and your dwelling places, O Israel!
I danced in the expansiveness of my scarf. My scarf became a tent for me, wrapped around me--hidden from desert sands of time. It is a dwelling place, a sacred space, a place for privacy, for protection from others witnessing my self-expression. Veiling myself is a dance for my insides.
From my tent, I could see out, but I did not face others. I veiled myself; as our Matriarch Rebecca veiled herself in the desert, with her heart beating, before going to her new marriage tent. I covered my head -- my long wavy graying hair. I covered my arms. I covered my presence, my cocoon. My holy tent.
Empowered, the scarf danced me to the outer rhythms moving me and to the vibrations of my inner rhythm.
The scarf took on presence and a life of its own. I was inside being danced. I could be silent, quiet, still. I could be winged and wild, and sing and dance. What was my prayer? Without others to witness, I could pull my tent over me for veiled intimacy between Shekhina and myself.
I listened. I heard. My soul responded to the beat of the drums - faster, louder, pulsating energy intensified the beat of my heart. Sounds vibrated through my feet as I danced.. I soared. My silken wings outstretched. My soul speaking, being revealed gently and released in all directions. I journeyed within the sacred circle. Like a Sukkot Lulav, my arms uplifted, gathering in blessings from all directions: I prayed upwards to Spirit, Hashem, and downward, honoring holy ground. Opening, outside of my tent I honored the Six Directions. I connected to the seventh holy direction in my tent, myself, my Jerusalem - centering position as I touched my heart.
This tent was my temple, my Mishkan, my Makom / home where I was dwelling and dancing in G*d's Glory. Our dwelling places are our bodies, our temples, homes, synagogues. A place to play, pray, study, for freedom, friendship, loving kindness, compassion, connection, confidence, truth, integrity, possibility, hope, healing, sorrow, grief, and tears and joy. A place for Oneness, commUnity, for peace. How fair, how goodly / Mah Tovu, how protective, and embracing. Open are the gates to our tents, for us to enter and exit, to dance with the Divine, inside and outside. I am grateful to the Source of All BlesSings, and for sacred safe places to dance and drum.
Joy Krauthammer, MBA, a spiritual Jewish woman (a purple loving "holy sister") serving G*d in Joy, is a poet, sound healer, and visual and performing artist of life (playing timbrels of Miriyahm HaNeviyah in sacred spaces), living in Northridge, CA, USA, UniVerse
Reprinted from Chabad's The Jewish Woman, http://www.thejewishwoman.org/