Nizahker Venikatev

Nizakher Venikatev: A Reflective Guide for Our Spiritual Journey

It is the first week of Elul, the month of reflection whose name the sages interpreted as an acronym for Ani L’dodi Ve-dodi Li: “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” (Shir HaShirim 6:3) This verse of sacred longing and desire is often interpreted as a model for not only human relationship, but connection to the Divine. The following questions are offered as a guide to begin the heart-opening work of this sacred time leading into the High Holy Days. 

Have you ever experienced emotional distance in a close relationship (perhaps with a friend, parent, or partner), and then reconciled? What opened the door to reunion?

Think of someone in your life whom you love but have felt distance from. Draft a letter (you don’t have to send it!) to express how you feel towards them.

Are there parts of yourself that are difficult to reconcile? What might it feel like to hold that tension from a place of love?

What are the ways in which you want to invest in building a Beloved Community— one where every person’s dignity and worth is uplifted— at BJ? In your place of work? In your building, or neighborhood?

How have you spoken out or taken action against injustice this year? How could you root this work in love?

Are there people this year whom you have rejected, or have rejected you? What could a seeking of love bulwarked by healthy and firm boundaries look like in these situations?

Healthy boundaries can be a way that we express our love, but can also be a source of pain. What are the boundaries that have helped you to feel loved and supported this year? What are the boundaries that have harmed you and others?

What is your experience of Divine Love? Describe it sensorily — what does it look like, feel like, or sound like?