Reflectionary by Rev Lori Whittemore

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Reflecting on the Divine in all of us
by Rev Lori Whittemore

Our task is not to seek the Divine, the Divine is with us, our task is to realize it. (Hasidic Proverb)

Hasidism is a form of Jusaism that evolved in eastern Europe in the late 19th Century. It has been described as a form of Judaism that centers itself on spirituality through internalizing and practicing Jewish mysticism. Male followers of the movement often wear interesting hats and depending on the their culture, wear long beard and curls on their sideburns called payots. Hasidic women adhere to standards of modesty, wearing long skirts that cover their skin and hats of head coverings in plain fashion.

Hasidic is based on the Hebrew word, Chesed (חסד, hesed, khesed) This is one of Hebrew words for love. Hebrew language has many words for love in its differing nuances. There are different words for physical love, brotherly love, romantic love. Hesed means loving kindness and deep abiding love. In other words, the thorough, all inclusive, all infusive love of God. Many Jewish thinkers, spiritualists and practitioners see chesed as the core message of the Divine, the ultimate reality of Divinity, the value of which humanity and in fact all creation was formed, works toward and will be fulfilled by.

From the movement and people who center their identity by the name of loving kindness, we derive this un-attributed proverb.

Our task is not to seek the Divine, the Divine is with us, our task is to realize it. (Hasidic Proverb)

For logic sake, let’s reframe this proverb for a moment. The Divine, therefore is known by it’s ultimate reality and all encompassing nature that is loving kindness. Our task is not to seek love, acceptance, affirmation, peace, joy, blessing. By the very nature of creation, it permeates our very being. Our task is to recognize our true nature as loving kindness, and live fully into it.

 

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Rev Lori Whittemore graduated from Bangor Theological Seminary in 2010 and was ordained by Chaplaincy Institute of Maine in 2014. She serves as a hospice chaplain at Hospice of Southern Maine and is a volunteer chaplain for the American Red Cross. She is the founder of the Abbey of HOPE.

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