Moon Over Maui

A Jewish Mystical Journey through the Year

Divine Hand Weaves a Majestic Tapestry

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Mar• 07•12

My dog Tora (Japanese for Tiger) died a few weeks ago. In his final moments, as he lay in my lap, I viscerally felt his 12 years of life swirl its way through me: him as a pup; as an agile and energetic youngster; him chasing balls and birds and rocks; as an elder slowing down, losing his hearing, his sight, his enthusiasm, his bladder control (!). He came alive in those final moments of his death. Tears of love and joy and laughter intermingled with sadness and loss and grief.

Tora's Last Hurrah. Yosemite November, 2011

As Tora died, death slipped through the crack of my broken heart, peered around, and made itself comfortable. Three more people in my life have died since, and two others have experienced sudden and dramatic health shifts that have tilted them toward life’s end. These weeks—filled with so much death and illness—have made me shake. I’ve been afraid to even talk or write about it.

Meanwhile, I’ve been learning, sharing and meditating on the healing qualities of the Adar moon: Joy and Laughter. I’ve smiled internally, but secretly I’ve felt like a fraud. As I see the cherry blossom trees against the blue winter sky, I sincerely smile. When I’m standing exhausted at the end of the day and my four-year-old boy is still bouncing and hopping and screeching, I find a true smile within me. But the buoyancy of Adar’s joy and laughter has eluded me. I’ve felt grateful, yes; but also scared, sometimes numb, even a little paralyzed.

Photo at:

The growing moon of Adar (which is full on Thursday night) urges me to go deeper. My journey, I know, is in alignment with the Jewish mystical moon cycles. The Jewish holiday of Purim, which is celebrated (by those living outside of Israel) the night before the full moon of Adar, acknowledges the thin veils between life and death.  It underscores the hidden Divine Hand weaving life’s majestic tapestry. It illustrates how life situations are one way and then suddenly another for no outwardly apparent reason. The Purim story teaches us: We don’t control the outcome of what happens; however, we do choose how we bring ourselves to every moment of our lives. When we survive to live another day, thank God! A joy it is to be alive!

Thousands of years ago, as the Purim story goes, the entire population of Jewish people was nearly annihilated. The heroine, Ester, went before the King, revealed her vulnerable identity, and pleaded for her life and the life of her people. She succeeded. She was exposed. She was brave. She was scared. She was beautiful.

I gather inspiration from Ester’s story.  Within me is an inner willingness to gather my courage and meet with the Holy One one-on-one. To readily admit life is finite. The sunsets needn’t get brighter. Life’s beauty needn’t be more tangible. But I must face death. Allow it. Be with it. Act to prepare, as best as possible. And plead—fervently—on behalf of my precious life and the life of my people.

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  1. Lee Lavi says:

    Within the continuous now – we breath.
    We are ALIVE. Now.
    …and far as beyond the now – We pray. We hope. We dream. We do not know.

  2. Carolyn says:

    LOVE this….thank you

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