About Me

My photo
Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy

GATES OF GILA ~ Gates of Joy

- JOY Krauthammer 

I invite you to read my thoughts on "Gates of Gila", inspired by, and published today by Rav Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin, Pesach 5772, for his readers. My essay requested by Rav Rahmiel Hayyim, is for the 6th day of the Omer, 7th day of Pesach. This is the day we Israelites crossed the Yahm Suf to FREEDOM. Enjoy.
Chag Sameach, Love and blesSings for Omer counting, health, wholeness, shalom, revealed miracles, and joy,
Gila Rena Tzohara
"Serve G*d With Joy"
~ ~ ~

From Rav Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin    
One of the gates is the   שַׁעֲרֵי  גִילָה  Gate of Gila. 

Sefirat Omer, in which we will each day count the 50 gates of Binah as hinted to by the Kaddish in the Sefardi Nusach for Yom HaKippurim 

"What are the gates of joy?
 And most importantly                                                                                              
What is the key to opening the gates of joy?" 


Gates of Joy for Thursday Night, 7th Night of Passover


  !סֵפֶר פִּתְחוּ-לִי שַׁעֲרֵי-צֶדֶק
:וְיִפְתַּח ה' אֱלהֵינוּ לָנוּ וּלְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל אַחֵינוּ בְּכָל מָקום שֶׁהֵם 

Hashem our G*d please open for us 
and for all our brothers and sisters in Yisrael in every place:
שַׁעֲרֵי  גִילָה  Gates of Gila

THIS IS A GUEST COLUMN FROM  Gila Rena Tzohara ~ Joy Krauthammer:

GATES OF GILA, Gates of Joy

 שַׁעֲרֵי  גִילָה  Gates of Gila

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Rosh HaShana 1993, taught that "we hold the KEY to our own prison, and must unlock that gate." Leaving Mitzrayim / narrow places behind, I become a Bat Chorin / daughter of freedom (and literally joined my first joyous Renewal Shul with name, B'nai Horin, led with an open heart by Rabbi Stan Levy, and he brought Reb Zalman to us). 

In a state of Mochin DeGadlut / expanded consciousness, in joy I played Timbrel and danced and sang with the women, when we Israelites crossed to freedom from slavery, Baruch Hashem. Feeling Mt. Sinai, opens for me the Sh'ar Gila / GATE of  GILA, Gate of Joy. To honor holy biblical sister Miriyahm HaNeviah, who sang her sweet song to Hashem on the 7th day of Exodus, I place a Kos Miriyahm / ritual water cup and Timbrel on my Pesach Seder plate, as well as an orange (for the women). I drum, write, paint and sing the Exodus.

In Netzach / in victory, as a warrior, I trespass my own boundaries-- open Gates to Gila, and transcend and transform in joy. (“Joy breaks through all barriers.” - The Baal Shem Tov) This joy weapon keeps me in Tiferet / harmony and balance from extreme challenges, pain and suffering. Some times my Tiferet heart has an extra pocket to holds darkness. Gam Zeh Yaavor / this too shall pass. 'I let go, and I let G*d'. My name, Joy, is the ultimate description of my strongest quality. I have courage to follow my heart, and to take a stand, speak out, challenge contemporary plagues, and pursue Tzedek / justice and Emet / truth.  I do Tikkun Olam and help to fix and improve our world, to open the Gate of Gila.

My Hebrew name is Gila (greatest joy of happiness) Rena (joy of song) Tzohara (window for radiant light at the top of Noah’s ark to reveal G*dly energy). Gila Rena Tzohara translates to "Double Joy and Light / Paahmayim Gila v'Ohr." My double Joy mission is to make a Tzohar / window in my life and allow the Divine grace of CHESED with joy to illuminate every action.  A Joy Key is knowing that my name reflects my Neshamah / soul. I will reach the heavenly gates knowing (as did Reb Zusha) that I was myself: Joy in Four Worlds: Spirit, Mind, Heart and Body. My joy flows through the 6th Gate, Yesod sh b'Chesed, in a Shefa / abunDance of awe, creativity, communication, and Chesed / loving-kindness.

I felt great delight when Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi named me Rena. After meeting the Lubavitch Rebbe z'l, my first Chabad Rabbi Hecht named me Gila for my Chabad Chupah. Three Lubavitch rabbis individually named me, and The Rebbe whom I met at 770 Eastern Parkway, gave me a piece of honey cake and a dollar bill to open further with fervor, my Gate of Joy. There are more joy words: Sason, Simcha, Ditza, Chedva, Oneg and Tzachala. and I am grateful to have my two. Gila is one of the 70 names for Jerusalem. (Isaiah 65,18)

My dear 'sixties' college friend, Suzanne, on the recent Adar day of her sister's, z'l, Matzeivah / unveiling, spontaneously gushed out to me, "Joy, your Gates are all open. But if we needed a key to unlock your gate, it would be that something needs doing, creating, or needs more beauty. You'd find the clay to mold, and the world to structure, and places for everyone to go to."  Suzanne expounded upon this (particularly concerning my ceramics and life as a potter), knowing each other (and my sister, Faye) for over forty years, filled with the deepest sorrows and highest joys.

Writing Suzanne's words, I feel the acknowledgement, and the flow of my heart / my Lev, to my moist eyes. Tears, my internal Mikveh / spiritual purification water ritual, is one of my GATES. Her words mean that I am open, transparent, and expressive (Keys), not veiled nor concealed, and I reveal / Gal my heart-felt joy / Gila, revealing G*d from hiddenness. Travelling in both directions on that day, to pay honor to my friend and her family, my Gates were open and in a place of Compassion-- a Key, and I flowed in abunDance with recognition of Keys. 

I write today during Parshat Pekudei, the holy time when Reb Shlomo Carlebach, z'l, named me Tzohara, lengthening my full name to Gila Rena Tzohara / "Double Joy and Light". Reb Shlomo said to the Los Angeles congregation, the holy Chevre / community that birthed Happy Minyan, "Joy has a million reasons to cry, but you only see her joy." Shlomo connected me in joy to Noah's Ark, the Teva with the radiant light-filled window at the top. To survive, with joy, I rode a Teva atop waters in turbulent high storms.  Riding high, I loved being Shlomo's Malavah Malkah percussionist, the highest blesSing in my life. Landing, I reclaimed my joy with many Keys to the Gate of Gila. For my Simchat Chochmah ~ Joy of Wisdom ceremony celebrating my 60th year, I received the title, Kol Sasson / Voice of Joy. 

A Gate to Gila. My joy is my absolute ecstasy in hearing, reading, seeing, feeling, touching, learning, digesting, and owning TORAH as my own. My heart warms and swells in joy and I am in an elevated state of consciousness. A Key for me to the Gate of Gila is learning and teaching what I know, and in the Zechut / merit of my teachers, z'l, L'ilui Neshamot / for the elevation of their souls. I love teaching Torah; about Simchat Chochmah, and Miriyahm HaNeviah, and Kabbalistic Omer Counting, and G*d's Holy # 7, and Joy. I invite friends on my Joy journeys, along my Tree of Life, to share the joy, my passions, enthusiasm, and to connect with their own joy.

I write this essay on Joy in the Zechut of my beloved Jerusalem Chareidi Reb Yosef Ben Shlomo HaKohen, z"l, (formerly Jeff Oboler). A GATE for me is learning Hebrew and Torah. Reb Yosef taught me that 'Charedi' translates to passion. Thus I am a feminist Chareidi but wear no Sheitel, not even a Tichel. In Renewal Judaism, in our Beit Gila and Beit Simcha, I wear my prayer garments as I Davven / pray in joy, sensing myself, my body as YKVK, B'Tzelem Elokim, in an image of G*d. These are my Keys. Shivitis throughout my home say "Shiviti Hashem L'Negdi Tamid", and remind me that 'G*d is before me always'.

CONNECTION is a GATE for me, Joy, always being opened to Gila / Joy and to G*d. Relationships with Mishpucha and Chevre (and strangers) give me deep joy. So deeply at times, I want to do for others. I may create a website in the memory of someone close, and to share with Chevre. My life is, "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" Serve G*d With Joy. Psalm 100:2  My business cards state this. My Matzeivah / grave markeralready designed in joy, will state this belief in stone. Henayni, I celebrate my present, and past and look forward to the future, accepting that my life is mortal, my soul immortal, and living each day with Kavanah / intention transforming negative to positive, bringing light to darkness, and visualizing wholeness (as my beloved Reb David Zeller, z'l, taught). My joy is in transcending. My other business cards say, Gifts of Joy, and Angels of Joy.

Connected to The Source, I enter the Gate of Gila; in Devekut / closely, immersing, melding to the Creative, Loving, Compassionate One.  I BREATHE deeply and open. G*d shares the breathe of life with me. The Holy One drums and dances me, and joy circulates and opens hearts. People receive the vibrational sounds of my drums, gongs, bells, and the heart chakra 'F' crystal, and Tibetan singing bowls.

The Holy One leads me to my major KEYS that I hold when my soul soars, and in my feminine creative power I dance, drum, play percussion, sound heal, sing, chant Niggunim, create, collage, photograph, paint, pot with clay, and plant in earth, weave, study, body wave surf, swim, snorkel, kayak, smile, laugh, and love. I love to recycle the tiniest of scraps and reuse bags. I use my senses: the Body Gates of hands/touch, mouth/taste/speak ("G*d open my lips"), eyes/see/vision, nose/nostrils/smell, and ears/hear/listen, and energy/color. Purple thrills me; I am a purple person. My Keys: I share-- give and receive, praise, pray, witness, observe, and celebrate with ritual and Hiddur Mitzvah / ritual beautification. I feel the Gates open when challenged and I learn and master technological techniques and can create a huge artistic Power Point presentation or Photoshop masterpiece or Picasa collage, although I have been warned about "senior learning curves." I kvell with the creations.

There is magic when I offer to others, and teach them to bless. Later I feel the joy when others tell me that their desires and requests to G*d have been granted and manifested, and when they are successful and have accomplished. Yasher Koach and Mazal Tov! It gives me joy to give opportunity for Nachas / happiness and soulful pride to others.

The Compassionate One gives me challenges--more Keys, that I accept in gratitude and in joy, and find more of myself revealed in my life mission as earth-walker and artist of life. Through channels of inspiration, these Keys are revealed to me by the Source of All BlesSings, especially while I SURRENDER myself in watery floating meditation, silence and serenity. GATES open to Oneness; I listen. I take action with intuition, perception, and received messages from G*d, angels, and guides. It amazes me when in joy I receive, from G*d, that which I carefully choose to request. 

JOY, my Gate, is my revealed expression of my soul's celebration of life, my purpose of life, my connection to Divine Mission and Holy One.  I celebrate in joy when I sense awareness, and understand personal Hashgachah Pratit / Divine Providence. Keys are Emuna / faith and Bitachon / trust.

I have Keys to the Gate of Joy when I learn from my mistakes, and when I do Teshuvah / "return to the land of my soul" and reclaim Joy and reJewvenate. I have the Joy GATE open when I heal others with my hands and heart knowing I am a VESSEL, an instrument for G*d's sacred energy flow. I have joy when I enable others. I feel Ruach HaKodesh, Holy Spirit, the inspiration of spiritual energy with each leaf I watch that moves, blown by Ruach / wind and G*d's breath. I absolutely love G*d's Presence in my finding a letter 'Shin' designed within a slice of fresh persimmon or in the branches of a tree. Joy for me is G*d's bursting magnolia pod's scarlet seeds, a swirling seashell, a timid turtle, a river worn stone, a giant amethyst geode, a Jewish spiritual theme personalized vanity auto license, and seeing truly bright stars, and a Rosh Chodesh new moon. I think G*d also loves dark chocolate!

I love insights during Omer counting. I love costume dressing for Purim, and dressing as Menorah flames when I read Temple Parshas, and I love 'biblio-drama' and movement for Torah Parshahs, and also wearing my purple angel wings. I love potting (and I am in Oneness) and teaching ceramics. I delight in artfully illustrating my writing. I love planting seeds and bulbs and seed dreams. I love my inner child playing in heaps of crunchy red fall leaves, and blowing translucent hummingbird iridescent bubbles. I love giving out smiley face stickers to children around the world, even stickering the Great Wall of China and buses in Morocco and Costa Rica. I love creating joyous graffiti in wet cement. I love driving into Gates in my purple truck with a California JOY/MiriYAHM license plate (that I took into an ocean Mikveh). ). I love introducing people to Mikveh in pools of water, oceans and rivers. This opens my Gate of Joy.

Reb Nachman of Breslov said, "It is a great mitzvah to always be happy." After a day of experiencing from G*d, limitless joy or trials, I open the Gate of Gila when I go to sleep at night and ask the Holy Shechina to embrace me.

I am a Shadchen, making matches in a myriad of ways for countless people over the decades since I was a teen, and that joy is a Key to my Gate of Joy. In synagogue with intention, I am consciously kind to strangers, and introduce people to each other in shul, and around the world. I connect others as a Gesher / bridge so that the world is closer in Shalom. This is my innate nature in creating more joy. 

GRATITUDE is a GATE for me. Throughout the day, I Mamash give thanks for the Gevaldt / awesome gifts, from the moment I awake-- to Hashem and others-- to family (especially to my beloved generous sister Faye), friends, neighbors, colleagues, employees, strangers, guides and rebbes, for being in my life, and with Chesedare supportive of me.  

I use a Key when I acknowledge and accept the gratitude from others; which means that I meet my mission, and others receive my inspired joy. It is joy for me also to give others the pleasure of knowing that they are heard and received.  My mentor, Reb Yosef, taught me to say, "May the blesser be blessed."

A heartfelt Key for me is recalling what my Reb Yosef taught me: "David proclaimed to all humankind, “Serve Hashem with joy; come before Him with joyous song.” In order to understand the deeper reason for this joy, we need to remember that we were created in the image of the Compassionate and Life-Giving One; thus, the purpose of our creation is to fulfill the compassionate and life-giving Divine purpose. When we fulfill this Divine purpose with all of our being, we experience joy, for we are developing and expressing the unique potential within us."

Keys for me have been my wise women mentors in the past and present, such as Marcia Cohn Spiegel and Rabbi Judith Halevy and loving friend Edith, entering her 90th year. As an elder, I have joy in mentoring others. Friends call me "Shamashie", "Joyaleh", "Joyah", "Joyful One", "Joyous One", "Joy Joy", "Joie de' vivre" and "Guide to Guides". I laugh in joy hearing these pet names. In one of my 70 plus joyous illustrated writing websites, I write a monthly guide, Joyous Chai Lights, for Jewish baby boomers, where I share my path along the Tree of Life. It is my Key for over three decades in sharing joy.

Delicious joy I felt this week connecting when my daughter, Aviva (born from my womb), now in her third trimester, for the first time held a long distance phone to her belly for her baby to hear me share my blesSings and dreams; a Shehecheyanu moment. L'Dor V'Dor, the Sephirot, B'Tzelem Elokim, we carry through in bonding in Yesod to our Etz Chayim / Tree of Life. The blesSings of continuation are my Key. Knowing my husband, Marcel, z'l, 'grandfathers' a new generation brings me joy. I feel joy knowing that B'Sha'ah Tova / in good time' the baby will have three grandparents and two great grandparents, who filled with Chesed / loving kindness, all have hearts of love and wisdom, Chachem Lev. OPEN HEART and LOVE are GATES.

Memories for me (thoughts and photos) are connection Keys to loved ones here, and to those neshamahs in my present life that made Aliyah to Shamayim. There is warmth and joy and sadness. Saying Kaddish and doing memorial rituals and Mitzvot for loved ones, z'l, gives me joy. Serving as Chevra Kadisha Shomer / protector for a Neshama, and using a graveside shovel until an earth love blanket covers the 'deceased', is a Key to knowing and understanding in Binah that in Chesed, I serve G*d in joy.

SERVING in fullness with 'circumcised' heart, in both giving and in receiving, is a great GATE of Gila. The more I share, the more joy I experience and it radiates and expands, like Ohr / light. Throughout every day I do Bikkur Cholim and they are my joy Keys. Compassion and Chesed are Keys to my Gate of Joy. I send light and prayers to those in need and hope to uplift them. My PRAYER and communication with G*d are GATES. 

Knowing that I can do a MITZVAH as soon as I awaken is my Gate of Joy. For me, Simcha Shel Mitzvah is the joy of a Mitzvah. I write a sympathy or empathy note or visit someone in a medical or senior facility. I can call my elderly friend to send love and I can bring in or out for pick-up, her large garbage pails. I can help someone with something that I am capable of doing and that speaks to my soul. I rush to open doors for others. The Gate of Gila is open when I am given the opportunity to do mitzvot, with the recipient's act of kindness in receiving, and that beneficiary being the source of blesSing. I am receiving when I give.

CONNECTION GATE is knowing G*d is with me (and you), loves me, and is present in our universe. I am a child of G*d. Keys for my Gate of Joy are waking early, being reborn, facing East / Jerusalem, singing Modah Ani, and outside barefoot in the garden, in dawn with the first colorful rays of the SUNRISE (my Mizrach / facing East), bringing up the sun in all of G*d's paint palette. I celebrate the new day and sing and dance my prayers. I stop and listen to the symphony surrounding me with each bird's individual song. Smiling at the plants, I greet and say "Good morning, G*d" and "I love you."  Sometimes later magnificent sunsets appear to be never ending in space and time.

My Keys are exploration, imagination, discovery, and witnessing in Yirah / awe universal wonders and miracles. I co-create with G*d. This is my Yesod as all the Sephirot flow through me. My Gate to Joy is open wide when I am in awe, sowing and harvesting to share in my garden with sweet fragrant citrus fruit trees, intoxicating white gardenias, aromatic red rose blossoms, faces of full flowers, velvety purple sage and lavender buds. NATURE is a GATE.

Finding fallen fruits from the Passion vine, eating and savoring fruit right from the vine and produce I have picked and maybe even grown-- these give me the deepest high. I have joy of delivering fruits daily to those whom I know could enjoy the joy of G*d’s succulent creations. I bring my freshly picked figs to the firehouse to share with the fire-fighters and discover they have never tasted fresh fig. My joy is immense when I share hundreds of baby fig trees each Tu B'Shvat holiday, and later hear that those trees have born fruit.

I have joy of seeing the seed or bulb planted (especially when my daughter was young) and watching it grow. To see how and where food is grown and processed is a key to my joy. I sense food's journey when I eat and make Bruchas / prayers. Today I see my Etrogim seedlings (from Sukkot) have grown to five inches! It is the joy of the first flowers that I saw today since pruning my roses (I took photos), and the purple freezia peaking out from all the yellows (or the crocus or Lily of the Valley appearing in NY snow), and the pretty pink pansy petals, and the jovial golden daffodils (I always recite the Daffodil poem.) I pray Shehecheyanu in experiencing each new joyous moment, and having been sustained to reach this time.

In joy, I see a green praying mantis looking like a leaf on a rose leaf, and looking up at me. Joy I have connecting with the little lounging lizards on my walls and watching them grow. (But they must stay out of my soft slippers!) I even made the lizards a website. I get excited, maybe ecstatic some would say, when I encounter creatures, like ducks in my spa. I feed them matzah, challah and bagels. Lola, my friend Edith's aged, black lab gives me joy when she rubs against me flapping her tail. We are connected in joy. (Lola's Key are her slimy green tennis balls, Edith, and my stroking her big body.)

Keys are the joy of the little red ladybug, delicate butterfly, and speedy hummingbird in all their beauty and vulnerability. The cute wild bunny rabbit leaving chewed twigs for the cooing doves to make their nest in my hanging porch planter, and fill it with two little white eggs. The birds chirping and the mockingbirds singing open my heart--a Gate. 

I feel the joy on my upward tilted face and body as I drink the sky rains that we are blessed to receive. I revel in the cloud formations but not the harsh thunder. At this moment, a bird alights atop the fig tree's highest pruned branch. The tree is bursting with new spring green leaves. As the long needed rain stops, and with camera in hand, I search for a rainbow, a covenant with G*d.  AHA. I dial neighbors and call out, "Rainbow alert; I found it, a double miracle!" A Key to my Gate of Joy is knowing that there is a hidden blesSing behind the clouds and maybe it will be revealed. "Gam Zu L'Tova" / This too is for the good.

The Gates of Gila have Keys and yet they may not be needed because the Gates of Gila are wide open, deep and high, inviting and revealing JOY. In gratitude, consciousness and awareness, being present in every moment, even to the shadows, we are Mamash / truly connected in unity to the Gevaldt Source of All BlesSings.

Reb Shlomo taught us that the secret to joy is to give everyone blesSings with all your heart. BlesSings are endless and numerous as stars in the sky, and open the GATE of Gila.  I bless you (and myself) to discover your passion, to be in YOUR OWN JOY, in your own beat, and like a Shamash, share joy in all directions (as if a Sukkot Lulav) when you enter the Gate of Gila. In addition to six directions, I include a 7th direction from my heart out to Jerusalem. 

Welcome to the joyous world of Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Chasadim - Torah knowledge, Divine service, and acts of loving-kindness.

May we be blessed by Hashem to go from Gola / exile to Geula / redemption and Gilu'i / to reveal to Gilu / rejoicing to Gila / joy and enter the Gate of Gila.

 שַׁעֲרֵי  גִילָה  Gates of Gila

BlesSings for happy Omer counting, health, wholeness, shalom, revealed miracles, and joy,
JOY Krauthammer
Gila Rena Tzohara
"Serve G*d With Joy"

Joy's websites
~ ~ ~

Chevre, I just read the following note by singing bowl playing friend, Rev Dana. 
Resonating with her words, in joy I include them here. - Joy

"Heart says, 'Whoa! I am so blessed ... I am Totally Knocked-Out by the Goodness in my Life! I am Hammered by The Power of Joy thru-out all of me. I am letting myself savor this moment.'   Ahhhhh ...
"You are Alive as your heart is conscious of your treasures because in that moment you are open and attuned to the Great Cosmic Blast of Goodness that animates All Life.
"In the moments you feel Blessed, you are giving G-d - The Great What Is - the opportunity to Feel Blessed thru you ...  in you ...  as you."  - Rev Dana St. Claire

No comments:

Post a Comment

THANKS for reading my words.
I always love to hear from you.
Thanks for writing to me on COMMENTS.