“`As the rose among the thorns, so is my love among the maidens’ (Song of Songs 2:2): What is the rose? It is the Community of Israel, the gathering of tribes. For there is a rose above and a rose below. Just as the rose which is among the thorns has red and white, so does the Community of Israel have both measures of justice and mercy. Just as a rose has thirteen petals, so does the Community of Israel have thirteen measures of compassion encompassing it on all sides…” (The Zohar)
Did you know that the rose is the official national flower of the US?
So here’s a tiny teaching about the secret of the 13 petalled rose for this packed presidential wknd starting with Friday the 13th into Valentines’ Day, All Star wknd, and the LIMMUD NY conference at which a vast diversity of the local Jewish community gathers as one and Lab/Shul’s got a prime time spot. It all connects.
In Kabbalah, the rose represents the mystery of community – the art of creating collaboration. The Thirteen Petalled Rose is the name of a profound book by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz in which he delves deeply into this mythic symbol of unity, beauty and connection to “the genuine center of all being, to the world and to human life and love.”
This past week, 30 of us met at Lab/Shul HQ to share our hopes and plans for building community together. My guilt-trip mailer worked… and I’m so grateful to the many of you who came, wrote, and expressed interest in being part of this opportunity to build a healthy community from the ground up.
We came up with over 30 names to define ‘members’ in this era of voluntary participation. Read about it HERE. This community, like the mystical rose, represents nothing less than the ideal state of human collaboration and care for each other – always in process, like love, like mystery, like life.
A rose is a rose is a lot of things apparently… Lots of roses are on sale today, mostly red… So go get some and give them to anyone worthy of your love, including yourself, count each petal as a gesture of friendship and together-making, do what you do to deal with superstition and the number 13 (actually an ancient hebraic number of power, later reviled, long story) honor our presidents past and present and future, keep warm and cozy, go NBA, Limmud NY, shabbat shalom.