by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen
Like heat and like hope, love and compassion are also invisible. And like them as well, we can also feel them. We know when they are in the room with us.
Alex Tait for Fine Acts
Love and compassion are powerful tools in the journey from pain to beauty. They give us strength. They give us courage. They give us meaning. El Harachamim, G!d of Mercy, G!d of Compassion. HaRachaman, The Merciful One, The Compassionate One. These are names we give to That Which Is Beyond Our Comprehension, especially at this time of year when we are seeking forgiveness. It is a comforting vision of G!d that can help us forgive ourselves, which may often be the first step toward forgiving others, and toward turning pain into beauty.
Compassion and love go hand-in-hand. We are commanded each day, You shall love the Holy One, your G!d, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. Can we love because we are commanded to? Perhaps not. But reminding ourselves each day to love something we can't see or fully comprehend can also be a reminder to love ourselves, and each other.
Love and compassion. Are you willing to risk them?
Rabbi Katy Allen is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long and has a growing children’s outdoor learning program, Y’ladim BaTeva. She is the founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network-MA, a board certified chaplain, and a former hospital and hospice chaplain. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Yonkers, NY, in 2005. She is the author of A Tree of Life: A Story in Word, Image, and Text and lives in Wayland, MA, with her spouse, Gabi Mezger, who leads the.singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.