By Dr. Koach Baruch Frazier
Shalom friends, it is a blessing to be writing to you as the rabbinic intern here at Kirva. I am excited to be leading va’ads/Mussar study groups for Jews of Color and a Dismantling Racism from the Inside Out va’ad at my congregation in Philadelphia, Kol Tzedek. Additionally, I have the pleasure of leading embodied practice for the Kirva Mussar and Conflict cohort hosted by the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable with Rabbi David and Franny Silverman. I pray that I have a chance to learn and practice with you!
This year is a leap year which means that there are two months of Adar. This additional month makes sure that Pesach is observed in the spring, as instructed in Shmot/Exodus chapter 23 and Devarim/Deuteronomy chapter 16. The Hebrew calendar is based mostly on the cycle of the moon, but the solar cycle influences it in order to keep certain festivals and holy days at a certain time each year. Now, each Rosh Chodesh we get a chance to reflect on the newness and fluctuation of the moon. Monthly, we not only notice how the sky changes, if we desire, we can observe how we too are growing and changing.
On the other hand, when we move through the four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter – even through the ever-devastating change in our climate, we find the steadiness of mother earth sustaining and nourishing her inhabitants. If one thing is for sure, mother earth is one of the most reliable entities we have. The consistent movement from season to season allows us to count on the planting and harvesting festivals throughout the year.
And to make it through our time here in earth school, we need spiritual newness like the lunar cycle and spiritual steadiness like the solar cycle. I want to encourage you to lean on your Mussar practice for stability. If you haven’t met with your chevruta in a while, now is a good time for Sichat Chaverim (A spiritual discussion with your check-in partner). Revisit a focus phrase that held you like a warm blanket on a cold night. Put it on your mirror. Add it to your phone or computer wallpaper. Sink back into the reliability of Mussar practice to keep you grounded, especially in times like these.
As you find yourself re-grounded, allow the newness of this month to spark a new spiritual insight or tool that can support you in finding just a little more joy in your life. Maybe you will find time to slow down and actually savor something you have accomplished or a favorite seasonal food or drink and perhaps a kind deed or inspiring quote will fill your cup so that it overflows into singing and dancing like David HaMelech was known to do when he celebrated and praised.
Keep reading, below for ways to tap into practice with Kirva this month.
Wherever you are in your soul curriculum, may this month of Adar 1 be one of steady growth with sparkles of joyous change.
–koach baruch frazier
Koach Baruch (KB) Frazier, Au.D. is a transformer, heartbeat of movements, healer, musician, founder of the Black Trans Torah Club and co-founder of the Tzedek Lab, and currently serving as the rabbinic intern at Kirva. A collaborative leader, rooted in tradition, curiosity and love, Koach strives to dismantle racism, actualize liberation and transform lives both sonically and spiritually. Koach lives and gardens with their wife, LaJuana and daughter, Aasha in Philadelphia on unceded Lenni-Lenape Land where he is a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.