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Impact Fellowship Blog

Spiritual Tzvat-Alyssa Boden

My favorite tiyul so far this semester was going to Tzfat. Tzfat has history and culture like nowhere else in Israel. When we were in Tzfat, we learned about logic and spirit that is known to be prevalent in the culture of the Holy City. There are two works of art created in Tzaft during the 1500s called the Shulchan Aruch, which is the book of Jewish logic and law. The second book is called the Kabbalah, which is the book of dummies and Jewish mysticism about ancient teachings. The Shulchan Aruch was written by a person named Yosef Caro. Yosef Caro was born in Spain, then traveled to Turkey, and eventually made his way to Tzfat where we sat in his synagogue. His synagogue had one wall dedicated to manuscripts which is a Jewish text that cannot be thrown out. Then came a guy, named The Arie who created a language that was accessible to understand the Kabbalah book. The Kabbalah had three parts to it, Tsim Sium, Tikkun Olam, and Vekut. Tsim Suim is contraction and allows us to exist and is the nature of the world, Tikkun Olam is repairing the world with a mission, and Vekut is a secret weapon. Kabbalah is still taken into the world today after so many years. Out of the four Earthly elements, Tzfat is the city of air and is a place to learn your Jewish identity and ancestry. 

Going to Tzfat was so special to me and I was enriched by the history I learned. Tzfat touched me and I felt the love through spirituality, the beauty and warmth of the residents, and the tenderness of the land. I felt Tzfat was welcoming and I enjoyed seeing the differences between the synagogues and life there and comparing it to synagogues and life back in the US. We visited an art gallery and heard a guy named, Avraham speak about his life. Avraham was an artist and an entrepreneur. His story spoke to me about how it was his choice one day to change his name and focus on learning about the story of the Kabbalah. When he learned about the story of Kabbalah he decided to make art based off of his understanding and to me that was inspirational. The one piece of art that stood out to me was the one that was the sounds of the Shofar. The art had each aspect of the 100 sounds of the shofar with the Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, and one big final Tekiah. After learning Avrahams story, I felt more of a connection to the city of Tzfat and hope in the future to increase my learning and culture of the city of Tzfat. I loved how there were so many artists and entrepreneurs working hard to follow their passion and dreams while supporting their families. 

Alyssa Boden