Yarin Weltsman grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and made Aliyah aged eighteen. She just completed her under graduate degree in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya and spent the last year in an intensive honours program as an Argov Fellow in Diplomacy and Leadership. Fulfilled and stimulated yet still eager for a change of scene, Yarin recently swapped the urban buzz for a more pastoral landscape where she studies Jewish philosophy and thought as well as art, dance and yoga. Yarin is an ardent speech maker, photographer, poet and artist who is passionately curious about the Universe and the Mindful Revolution. She loves to create, inspire and lead. Connect with Yarin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindfulness - Shabbos Project Reflections
Israel, my new home brought with it not just conventional struggles such as finding an apartment, finding friends or even finding myself. My new life in the Land exposed me to new spiritual struggles which turned into paths of delight and connection. Coming closer to my geographical roots allowed me to explore my spiritual roots as well. It was in the fast paced rush of life in Israel that I learnt to appreciate the “island in time” Judaism likes to call : Shabbat. A time which allows us to bring ourselves to a heightened awareness of the present moment, because when all creation ceases between dusk and dusk, we let go of the “chase” and quite simply - exist. This idea of living mindfully is an ancient wisdom embedded in the foundation of Jewish thought and practice, ideas that today are emerging sporadically as the masses embark on paths of soul searching and self development the world over. Even giant corporates are using breathing, mindfulness and meditative techniques to increase productivity and innovation.
There is a deep wisdom within the idea of Shabbat, a wisdom that is not just understood rationally but is felt on a deep, intrinsic level. Besides for the social, communal and psychological aspects which have consequently made the Shabbos Project such an international success, I believe the real exponential factor is the inherent arousal of the Jewish soul when it feels connected. A connection to a place, a moment, a person, to the Infinite.
Every person connects differently, each seeing the world through their dimension of the kaleidoscope of reality which reflects different overlaying themes of the Torah in our day to day lives. The way to tap into this is through being mindful of the occurrences and happenings in our lives and realising that the Torah is not just about what happened in the past but about what is happening right in this moment. Lech lecha, the popular Parsha of the Shabbos Project weekend epitomised the journey, of all the “Olim” on the 'Tzvat Shabbaton'. In short the Parsha discusses how God commands Avraham to “go for himself, from his land, from his birthplace, from his fathers house, to the land that He will show him”, ie. the Land of Israel. This was the first Aliya, the one that catalyses millions more throughout the last 3300 years of Jewish history, many dreamt, but not all made it.
Just as Avraham struggled, pursuing an individual “lech lecha” is no easy feat and despite the difficulties and longings of Southern Hemisphere cities, coasts, friends, family and familiarities, we set out to the land God showed Avraham. A journey that doesn’t end with receiving your little blue I.D book or completing Ulpan, its a never ending journey which through difficulty cultivates fulfilment and a feeling of content. This is because God doesn’t command Avraham to just “go” he tells him to “go for himself”, to go because this is the path only he can take, to fulfil the role only he can. Making Aliya personally stemmed from certain values and an individual yearning, an inner whisper telling me to “go for myself”. This inner whisper, echoes the whispers of existence, of the Universe which gives each and every one of us a personal message, to pursue life decisions which bring us closer to who we really are and what we are here on this earth to do. This can be anything from pursuing a certain life decision, career path or even a potential lover. The world has it’s way of giving us messages but its up to us to be open and mindful of them. Life brings with it a lot of audio clutter and distractions, where we lose who we truly are to the flow and craziness of life. This is where Shabbat becomes our anchor, reminding to us to stop, breathe, go inward and listen and let the whispers of existence grow louder once a week, or even just once a year.