Iyyar: Savlanut (סבלנות) Patience | Meyaledet

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Table of Contents:

New to Mussar or the Kesharim K’doshim approach? Read the intro first.


Savlanut (סבלנות) Patience by Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet

Opening the Space between
the Match and Fuse

Rabbi Yechiel Yitzchok Perr

Patience is really a way of handling delayed gratification with grace and ease. The reason many of us get impatient is because we feel like things aren’t happening as we would like them too, there’s a blockage, or an obstruction. Think about people when they get what we call “road rage” in these modern times, in the Western world. Why are they rage-filled? Because they are reacting from impatience. Why are they impatience? Because of a perceived flow/pace that they expect to move at. I could add a sense privilege and pride to that too. ” Because I am important this traffic should not be in my way.” But if you can put yourself in the context of right space/place (the soul-trait of humlity/Anavah), you might find yourself reacting with patience because this traffic isn’t about you. Maybe there is construction to improve the road or (g!d/dess forbid) a terrible accident.   The other soul-traits that I find under it are b’lev shalem (בלב שלם) willingness, bitachon (בטחון) trust in G!d/dess, rachamim (רחמים) compassion, erech apayim (ארך אפים) slow to anger and nedivut (נדיבות) generosity. It also connects to kavod (כבוד) honor, which is the soul-trait for the calendar counterpoint – which is the Mekonent in Cheshvan.  Any or all of these may be what we need to explore to really get to work on savlanut (סבלנות) patience.

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Things that go too fast or too slow cause us to react impatiently. People not seeming to listen to us or be attentive in ways that we recognize can cause us to react impatiently. People have an emotional reaction when WE HAVE THINGS TO DO, can cause us to react impatiently. And generally this has a lot more to do with us than the other person/people or situation. The idea of opening the space between the match and the fuse is all about taking a moment to focus on your responsibility in your own reaction and not putting all your energy and focus on how the other person or situation is wrong. It/they may be wrong or at fault – but you are responsible for your own reaction. And your choice to get angry or frustrated and act on that causes you to suffer, not just the other people.

Right pace as prayer

Rav Kohenet Taya Mâ

I find myself often not being patient because I’m asked to live at a pace that I don’t feel is my own. The modern world, especially in the city, moves fast – at the speed of business. I find it’s a forced pace, a false pace. Too many people in America, and much of the Western World don’t live in a perspective of their real place in the Universe. They must invent importance around things that are just process. They must invent emergencies, because our lives are generally pretty easy. Yes, there is real struggle – but few of us worry about where we will sleep or find the next meal. I had the opportunity a few years ago to live almost six months at the pace of my choosing, and it was slow. I’ve never felt such contentment and ease. I got SO MUCH DONE, but it was ease-filled. What I didn’t figure out was how to monetize all the many glorious things I was creating – which is why many of us live at pace that is not right for us.

Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

So often it’s perceived imperfection of a moment in time that tests our patience. Just the phrase “test our patience” seems like it comes right out a mussar world view. Remember the part of mussar practice that is about the concept of bechirah (בחירה) or choice points? As we talked about in week two, just when you think that you have mastered patience, gratitude, enthusiasm, or any middah – a bechirah moment appears.  These are the life challenges that let us move to new levels of our soul-curriculum.  The bechirah moments present those challenges that push us past our default settings.

See the many bechirah moments that we’re given with savlanut? So many opportunities to embody the Divine, and learn to do it better and better. Every traffic jam, annoying conference call, child’s tantrum is a bechirah moment. It’s an opportunity to let the light in through the cracks; the imperfection we perceive to be blocking our way.

Why were there ten generations from Noah to Abraham? To show God’s patience, for each generation disappointed God, but the tenth produced Abraham to receive the reward the others shunned.

Pirkei Avot 5:3 (Rami Shapiro Translation)

This isn’t about being passive or the even the Buddhist concept of “radical acceptance.” It’s about making a choice in how much suffering you will put on yourself by reacting to these moments. It’s about trying to behave as though we live in a “virtuous reality”, as Alan Morinis puts it. Another way to say that might be: “Be the change you wish to see.” That last quote is an unverifiable quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, but he did say something verified that sounds like it could have come directly from Pirkei Avot: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
After doing a little research, I had another opportunity to practice patience by simply pointing out (and not screaming) that once again a teaching by a woman is mistakenly attributed to a man. Based on the amazing post by the Quote Investigator, I learned that “Be the change you wish to see in the world” should be credited to Arleen Lorrance.

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Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet
Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa’agelet, founder of Devotaj Sacred Arts, is a maker and teacher of the sacred arts. In 2009, she received ordination as a Kohenet as well as a Celebrant of Becoming, a spiritual community she co-led in Washington DC from 2002-2012. She is the creatix of Kesharim K’doshim Mussar and the Eht/Aht: a netivot wisdom oracle, as well as author of several haggadot and a collection of poetry, prayers, and midrash. Kohenet Ketzirah is also known for her work crafting fiber art and mixed media amulets, altars, and shiviti.  Learn more about her work and creations at www.devotaj.com, and you can find her regularly on Instagram (@devotaj_arts) and Facebook/devotaj.arts.


Rav Kohenet Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, and the co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute.  She is the author of a number of books, including The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for all Seasons, The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women, The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (with Taya Shere), and The Book of Earth and Other Mysteries

Her forthcoming book is titled Return to the Place: The Magic, Meditation, and Mystery of Sefer Yetzirah.

Rachel Kann
Poet. Performer. Author. Practitioner. Ceremonialist. Seeker, Dancer. Jew. Teacher. Artist.
TEDx Poet Rachel Kann has been featured on Morning Becomes Eclectic on NPR and as The Weather on the podcast phenomenon, Welcome to Night Vale. She’s received accolades from the James Kirkwood Fiction Awards, Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Awards, LA Weekly Awards, International Poetry Slam Idol and Write Club Los Angeles. She’s performed from The Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe to Disney Concert Hall with people like Marianne Williamson and DaKAH Hip Hop Orchestra. She teaches poetry through UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where she is the 2017 Instructor of the Year. Visit her at rachelkann.com.

Kohenet Alumah Schuster
As Shomerit Eish Lavananh, Guardian of the White Fire, Kohenet Alumah ardently witnesses, and gently guides . She enters, explores, delves and honors the often silent vast expanse of potentiality that exists in the innermost spaces between. Whether that be  the space between bodies as she works as a Hospice Chaplain and end of life doula, or helping to find the wisdom hidden deep inside the body as both a somatic practitioner and yoga instructor, or in the body of Torah as she parses thru the letters and the spaces they inhabit . As a certified aromatherapist her ability to scent and sense space helps her to help others deepen the arc of devotion with both reverent and irreverent methods. Her deep commitment to learning through embodiment and text opens others to remove and drop their outer garments and reveal their inner light, under the skin, revealing the true nature and bringing them ever closer to Self and self.

Kohenet Bekah Starr
I am a Sacred Artist.
In creating visual art & ritual I weave the magical, mystical, often hidden, wisdom of the Hebrew people, and the Divine Feminine, in a way that allows me to be a translator for you. I use embodied artistic practices to assist us in being present to spiritual moments.