Thursday, March 26, 2015

Netilat Yadyim (Hand Washing)

3/24/15 Lab 1.0 by Robyn Awend

We began the Lab with Rabbi Davis leading us in a song based on Psalm 145:16 by Rabbi Shefa Gold: Poteiah et yadekah u-masbiah l’kol hai razon – You open Your Hand, I open my heart to his abundance; and all life, all will is satisfied.  After several rounds of this communal singing, we explored various forms of hand washing – purity vs. spiritual preparation (to serve others and G-d):
We discussed excerpts from the following books:

·       Sefer HaHinnukh, Mitzvah 106

We also looked at Exodus 30:13-19 and discussed the holy vessel, the bronze laver, referencing commentary and shared thoughts.  

“Netilay Yadyim can help you raise up your reason for living each day. Instead of just “getting by”in life, you have the chance to take action for a higher purpose, to experience avodah (being of service) – by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried.

We then set an intention for using our hands and went around the table and completed the following sentence. “My hands are for -----?” Some of the responses included, “creating, giving, lifting, loving, connecting, etc.”

We then read, Bless These Hands by Diann Neu, from EarthPrayers. In closing, Rabbi Davis walked us through the 4 step procedure for washing one’s hands and invited us to join him as we sang the melody by Rabbi Shefa Gold once again.

Following Rabbi Davis, Liba presented us with a table filled with colorful paints and a variety of hand washing vessels. We were invited to take a vessel and begin to make it our own. As the group painted and adorned, we discussed hand washing rituals at our own homes and special traditions that are celebrated during Passover, as it nears. At the end of the session, there was a beautiful variety of hand washing vessels, each one unique with its own story. I look forward to using mine this Shabbat.

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