The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 


Wade in the Water (Julius Lester)

Julius Lester

—folksinger, scholar of African-American Studies and Jewish Studies and resident of the Pioneer Valley—died Jan 18, 2018. Julius was a big spiritual presence in the world of Judaism in rural New England when I was a lot younger, and even though in later years he preferred seclusion, he was still a presence in our community of Northampton and the Upper Valley whose teaching had touched many people. Julius wrote the book Lovesong about becoming a Jew after learning that his maternal great-grandfather was Jewish. The last time I saw him, he came to teach at a Shavuot tikkun at Congregation B'nai Israel a few years ago.

One part of Julius Lester's legacy are his recordings of civil rights songs in his rich bass baritone voice. I was fortunate to receive a copy of him singing "Wade in the Water" from Aharon Varady – it's a must listen in the days around Parshah B'shalach, when we read about crossing the Red Sea in the lead up to Tu Bishvat, the New Year for the Trees, and of course for Passover.     

P.S. Since Tu Bishvat is always the full moon that falls on or right after Parshah B'shalach when we read the Song of the Sea, here is a link to all of neohasid's material on Tu Bishvat.



Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006